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Former TWU professor dies of COVID-19 complications

Former Texas Woman’s University professor Jana Perez passed away at the age of 55 on her birthday, Jan. 28.

After battling cancer this past year, Perez was hospitalized due to COVID-19. She passed due to complications from the virus. Her husband and her son were able to be with her when she passed.

“Jana taught graphic design here for 10 years, and the ripples from the impact of her teaching continue to spread today,” interim chair Colby Parsons said on the TWU Department of Visual Arts Facebook page.

Perez was an associate professor of graphic design at TWU from 2007-2017. At the time of her death, she was the director of operations at High Bandwidth, a marketing and advertising company. She was also a part of Perform La Femme,a project meant to “emphasize their lives as women and delve into the psychological states and cultural interpretation of female identity,” with her business partner Angilee Wilkerson.

“For many, Jana will be remembered as an artist, educator and colleague who inspired everyone to find their best selves, do their finest work and realize their greatest potential,” Wilkerson said. “Her artistry focused primarily on multi-media, photography and design and she was a leader in these fields. Her creativity seemed to have had no limits. For me, Jana was quite frankly a powerhouse, a charismatic force of nature, and I was profoundly transformed by her talent, vision and intellect. 

“Most importantly, I will always remember Jana as my partner, the beloved one with whom I created a world of wonderment, where female camaraderie empowered a shared voice articulated in the works of Perform La Femme.

Perez’s work has been featured in exhibitions such as the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, the 4th Annual Photography Biennial, the ReFresh Print Biennial I, the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in Tallahassee, Florida, the Art Basel Miami, the Fitton Center for the Arts in Hamilton, Ohio, and a Portfolio Winner exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography. Her work has also been recognized by the American Advertising Federation of Fort Worth, Adweek, Graphic Design USA, the Dallas Advertising League and the University and College Designers Association (USDA).

“She opened my mind to being a business-woman as an artist,” TWU alumni Madeline Potter said. “I only had one class with her, but it was one of my absolute favorites. Her energy was radiant, and her passion was inspiring. Such a sad loss and I’m so grateful for her impact on me and the time in life that I knew her.”

Perez had presented research at USDA, Texas Association of Schools of Art (TASA), the Annual Hawaiian International Conference on Arts and Humanities and Design Education Summits.

“What an amazing person to have touched so many lives,” TWU alumni Isabel Andreas said. “She inspired me to be the best designer that I could be and was always there to tell us of her experiences and push us beyond what we thought we could do. She taught us to inspire the world through our craft. Thank you, Jana for seeing me before I could see myself.”

Laura Pearson can be reached via email at lpearson6@twu.edu.

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