Header Video screenshot of a subway car ona bridge with text overlay that reads resilience is everywhere

Jewel Rodgers

Wax Over Water

Wax Over Water is a collection of poetry exploring the intersectional and sometimes conflicting identities of its creator. Each poem contains a cinematic project. Partnering with Omaha-based musicians, photographers, and cinematographers, the poet creates a multi-sensory experience centering wisdom gleaned through community conversations and one-on-one interviews. As a tactile, physical object, Wax Over Water is a 6”x6” book. Each spread contains a full-page photograph on one side and an affirmation on the other. A small block print beneath each affirmation disguises an NFC decal: scanning it with a phone leads viewers to the virtual cinematic composition.

About the Artist

Jewel is an interdisciplinary poet, performer, and visual artist creating with the purpose to connect. She has shared her work across the Midwest and MidAtlantic regions, appearing in spoken word, public speaking, and multimedia projects, such as 100 Years | 100 Women (Park Avenue Armony - NY, NY), TEDxLincoln (TEDx - LNK, NE), and Amplifying the Black Experience (Opera Omaha – OMA, NE).

Jewel is a 2022 Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards nominee for Best Performance Poet in Omaha. Her written word received an honorable mention in the 2021 Nebraska Poetry Society’s Open Poetry Contest. Her visual content, a combination of video, images, audio, and text, has been used to promote independently curated events, including THINK., a 5-part traveling conversation series.

As a spoken word poet, Jewel offers her skill to support social intervention, as with her contributions to The Women’s March and the Charlottesville Vigil in Lincoln, NE. Her work frequently supports mentorship endeavors like UNL’s Husker Dialogues Diversity Training for incoming college freshmen and the City of Omaha's Annual Omaha Area Women in Leadership Ceremony. She is also a contributing member of the Nebraska Writers Collective’s All Writes Reserved Festival for high school poets as a slam coach.

Alongside her artistic practice, Jewel is working toward reshaping the built environment. After earning a Master’s in Real Estate Development (New York University) and completing a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) as a Buffet Scholar, she continues toward the long-term goal of co-creating our community through mindful spatial practice. She currently creates and maintains privately-held spaces for the public as the founder of the resident-led group, PlaceMade, which creates community amenities as an interim solution to blight. She led the completion of Tierra Park (a pocket park at 2413 Spencer St) and Caden's Corner (a skate ramp and community garden at 3703 Florence Blvd) and plans to continue this work.

Populus Fund Grantee Jewel Rodgers smiles with arms folded against an abstract blue background