Graphic designer, photographer and partner at Willis & Williams Design Studios
For someone who didn’t plan on staying in Bakersfield, Jennifer Williams-Cordova has left a mark on the community that’s difficult to miss.
A graphic designer, photographer and partner at Willis & Williams Design Studios, art is in Jennifer’s blood and her passion for public art can be seen across the city, from a small-scale 1956-era fiberglass pickup truck in front of Cafe Smitten to various murals, highlighted by a 40-by-8-foot piece at the David Nelson Pocket Park she oversaw that utilized the talents of 15 artists with eastside connections – each working on a letter that spells out “east Bakersfield.”
“That east Bakersfield pocket park mural I’m really proud of because of what it represents in the way it brought everybody together,” Jennifer said. “People tell me they’re going to go by and see it that probably never go to that neighborhood otherwise and I think it’s really special that it brings people there and that area of town is getting some attention. Every community deserves public art because it really impacts the neighborhood in a positive way.”
One of her latest projects is the book “Indy, Oh Indy: Wanderin’ the Streets of Bakersfield,” a collaboration with author Teresa Adamo in which Jennifer provided the illustrations. The book, which documents Indy’s adventures through the city as she searches for her forever home, helps promote community pride, particularly among children.
It’s a noticeable change of heart from someone who wanted to live “somewhere cool” after graduating college. Instead, she realized she preferred to live in a community where residents are connected on a personal level, rather than a superficial one, and Bakersfield filled that want.
“Bakersfield’s totally cool,” Jennifer said. “And even if other places haven’t realized it yet, they’re going to realize it soon. I think what makes it cool are the people that live here.”