Jill Kearney is a writer, visual artist, curator, and former journalist and film executive. As a child, she spent many formative summers in Provincetown, Mass, where local arts institutions anchored a diverse community of artists, writers, and fishermen.
Her parents founded The Contemporary Art Workshop, an art center housed in a rambling former dairy factory in Chicago, Illinois, and they inspired her to start ArtYard with her husband and her creative partner Elsa Mora. Jill graduated from Harvard with a degree in English and Creative Writing, worked in Hollywood as a creative executive at Francis Coppola’s Zoetrope Studios, served as west coast editor of American Film and Premiere Magazine, and later ran the Tribeca Film Center-based offices of Los Angeles film producer Art Linson. She married Stephen McDonnell, founder of Applegate Farms Organic and Natural Meats, moved to Bucks County PA, worked briefly on the sausage line wearing a white cap, raised three strong and capable daughters, and sat on the board of Applegate Farms. Before launching ArtYard Kearney produced theater, dance, and literary events in a cavernous unheated barn in Bucks County PA, where she developed a deep appreciation for the practice of art as a collaborative enterprise.