Jessica Holt

Founder and Executive Director
The Bauen Camp, Inc.
Purpose Prize Fellow 2007

Transforming exceptional young artists into community leaders.

Jessica Holt, a professional artist, founded the Bauen Camp in 1999 on 70 acres in the foothills of Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains. The Bauen Camp – “Bau” means to build or nurture in German – aims to empower disenfranchised youth to become civic change agents in their communities, teaching them how the arts can be used to build social creativity and responsibility. Working with a network of more than 80 local youth organizations and schools in five focal areas – Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, and the State of Wyoming – Holt selects 60 disadvantaged youth to attend the camp each year, a dozen or so young artists who pay their own way, artist-counselors and directors. The three-week experience is focused on advancing each student’s artistic leadership and life skills, culminating in a public collaborative project modeling new ways to consider social problems. Returning home, Bauen campers are linked with mentors and alumni in a network that supports their further development as community leaders. Since its founding, the camp has served more than 300 youth.