Jill M. Kokesh is a native of Fort Pierre, South Dakota. She began her career as a photojournalist working in the late 90’s covering politics and local news in Central South Dakota. An opportunity to teach art at the Lower Brule Sioux Indian Reservation in 1999 set in motion a career in art education that has spanned for 14 years. In 2000, Kokesh relocated to Denver, CO where she continued teaching at risk youth and special needs students. She continued her education in web design and digital photography. Earning a degree in Multimedia and Web Design from the Art Institute of Colorado and an Educational Fellowship toward an MA in Digital Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Kokesh also worked closely in the River North Arts District showcasing emerging artists at The Meadowlark and organizing opportunities for inner city youth to experience and exhibit art work in summer festivals in downtown Denver. In 2008, she was awarded the Colorado Art Education Association Educator of the Year/Alternative School for her work with special needs students and inner city youth artists. In 2013, Kokesh moved back to her hometown and is currently an art instructor at TF Riggs High School in Pierre, SD. She is collaborating with photographer Paul Swedlund in Splendor in the Grass: Vanishing Early Architecture in South Dakota’s Small Towns www.exilelens.net. Kokesh has been awarded a 2018-19 Artist Career Development Grant from the South Dakota Arts Council and is a NASA Liftoff Alumni.