Jess T. Dugan

2016 - 2017 Elizabeth M. Marion Visiting Artist and Scholar

Photo by Rafael Soldi,

Photo by Rafael Soldi,

Jess T. Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. She has been photographing within LGBTQ communities for the past decade and is deeply committed to the transformative power of photographic portraiture.  Her work is regularly exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several major museums.   

Her first monograph, Every breath we drew, was published in September 2015 by Daylight Books and coincided with a solo museum exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.  She is the recipient of a 2015 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and was selected by the White House as a 2015 Champion of Change. 

 In her lecture, A Decade of Visual Activism, she will speak about the trajectory of her work over the past decade, her motivations for making photographs, and her experience as a working artist. She will speak in detail about Every breath we drew and her ongoing project, To Survive on this Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender-Variant Older Adults, which she has been working on since 2013.   

Jess is represented by the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, IL.


This lecture series is supported by an endowment established by Elizabeth M. Marion (1922-2016) of Greenville, South Carolina, a native of Columbia and seventh generation alumna of the University of South Carolina. Marion artists present a public lecture and lead creative workshops open to students, faculty, and to the community.