The Eye is in the Details

Written by Shlomit Ovadia of JCC Denver

Figurative oil painter and JCC member Jennifer Cruff has been painting narrative scenes out of her studio, Walnut Workshop Collective in Rino for the past year and a half. Her most recent piece, “Stage Rehearsal,” is a 48” by 48” oil on wood panel inspired by Jenna’s experiences at JCC Denver that grapples with the universal notion of performance.

“I can’t remember when I started because I’ve always been making things, drawing, and painting and working with other mediums. It’s how my brain sort of works,” the mom of one explains.

After graduating with two degrees, and then spending several years working in the corporate world and law firms before fully committing to her art career, Jenna first learned about JCC Denver while pregnant with her son, Sam.

She immediately joined the J and enrolled Sam in the Early Learning School (ELS), which he has been attending for the past four years. Sam will wrap up his ELS experience with Camp Shai this summer before starting kindergarten.

“At the time I enrolled him, I was still working in the corporate setting so I just loved that there was a community he could socialize in. To me, that was so critical and impressive. I love that ELS is properly focused on developing children into people and teaching them how to be a person in society, as well as the skills you need to get along and enjoy life,” she shares.

Sam has also been learning to swim at the JCC, much to his mom’s delight, who explains their intentional move to live closer to the J. “The energy and community here are special and hard to find elsewhere.”Jenna posing with her artwork.

Jenna’s artwork specifically focuses on capturing the psychosocial aspects of group dynamics, like performance anxieties and other social behaviors.

“There are just so many different mental layers we all have that come out when you have groups of people together. That’s what I’ve been trying to convey through subject matter, how to capture that vibe.”

You can view Jenna’s artwork on display at Empire Collective on Larimer Street or at First Fridays in Rino.

IG: @jacruff_art

Feeling inspired? Try your own hand at painting with JCC Denver’s array of fine arts classes, including oil, watercolor, and more.