Meet Jesse Walp, the BN360 Spotlight Professional for November 2019

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to present the 2019 BN360 Spotlight Professionals, sponsored by Alpine Films. Each year, BN360 highlights 12 up-and-coming young professionals who strive for professional growth and development, care for their community, and are passionate about the future of the Buffalo Niagara region. Meet Jesse Walp, the Spotlight Professional for November 2019. 

 Jesse Walp

Associate Professor of Art and Design | Villa Maria College 
Professional Sculptor 

Jesse was born in Wellsville, New York but grew up in southern Mississippi. He began his design studies at Mississippi State University and went on to study furniture design and woodworking at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he eventually earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture. After graduate school, he taught and exhibited at various community art centers as a resident artist. In 2011, Jesse and his wife moved to Buffalo, where he is currently an associate professor who teaches in both the Interior Design and Fine Art programs at Villa Maria College. He is an avid sculptor who exhibits both gallery art and public works. 


First Job Out of School 

I was a resident artist and taught classes for a community art center in West Palm Beach, Florida. There at the Armory Art Center I created a body of work, established a woodworking facility, learned how to cast bronze, and developed my own art classes for people of all different ages. 


Greatest Professional Win 

The Arch on Old Falls Street, a large-scale public sculpture in Niagara Falls, which I finished Summer 2018, was probably my most significant accomplishment yet. 


Best Piece of Professional Advice 

Make big promises and then keep your word.” 


Community Corner 

I am a member of the Albright Knox Art Gallery and a Living Legacy Artist through the Burchfield Penney Art CenterI also just volunteered during our Villa Maria Service Day to help rehab a Buffalo house alongside our studentsI have volunteered my time to help with “Feed My Starving Children. I have been a judge for “100 American Craftsmen” which goes on at the Kenan Center in Lockport, NY, and I am a regular fixture at local protests, whether the cause is protection of the environment, or a marginalized group that needs representation, or simply demanding social justice. 


Greatest Hope for the Buffalo Niagara Region 

I moved here with my wife nine years ago, and we have watched Buffalo transform before our eyesThere is so much support for creativity and art specificallyThe history, culture, and architecture is extremely rich, not to mention the diverse music scene, and great food and drinkThe people of Buffalo are tight too… whether it’s a group of strangers pushing a car out of the snow, or just a friendly smile from someone you have never met before as you walk down the streetThere are so many efforts, causes, foundations, and helpful groups, that I guess my biggest hope is that we can all start working together to help each other and realize the full potential of this region.


On Being a BN360 Spotlight Professional 

It is nice to know that people are recognizing what you are doingSo it’s definitely flatteringI’m also very honored to be in this group of hard working successful young people who are doing amazing things, taking risks, and creating the Buffalo that we all live in and call home. 


Jesse’s Top 5 Favorites: 

  • Go to Lunch Spot: I don’t go out for lunch much but when I do I get a sub from Guercio’s  
  • Best Buffalo Hidden Gem: Kayaking around the grain silos  
  • Dream Vacation Location: My wife Bethany and I got married in Costa Rica, a dream come true, and we are planning on going back next year to celebrate our 10 year anniversary with our kids!  
  • Best Buffalo Activity/Hobby: Walking with the kids through Tifft Nature Preserve  
  • Favorite “Buffalo” Food: Gabriel’s Gate makes a mean “Norwood Avenue”