"Red Wall in Ybor City"
 
Kathy Iwanowski is orignally from Chicago, where she trained at Wesley-Passavant School of Nursing when it was affiliated with Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  In the early 1990's, after moving to the Clearwater, Florida area, she worked at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa,  while attending the University of South Florida. She graduated with a BA in Studio Art in 1994 with a concentration in intaglio printmaking and ceramics.  After graduation, she began painting abstracts and representational pieces using mixed media and acrylics on paper and canvas. 
 
In 1997, Kathy experienced an extremely stressful period in her life and found doing art to be a great way to work through it.  During this time, she also came across an arts program being done by Dr. John Graham-Poole and Mary Rockwood Lane, RN, at Shands Hospital of the University of Florida and started thinking about how she might meld her healthcare and arts backgrounds. 
By the end of 2003, she saw how therapeutic the arts could be both personally and professionally and left nursing and a marketing position to pursue an art career full-time.
 
Since then, Kathy has facilitated workshops, classes, artist residencies, and consultancies on top of her own creative practice as a way to show the connection between the arts and health.  She has worked with VSA arts of FL; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center; Cornerstone Cancer Center and the Cancer Wellness Institute; Faces of Courage; the Tampabay Cancer Care Network; Cancer, Culture, & Literacy program; as well as businesses, schools, and juvenile detention centers.  From these experiences of:
  • directly working with children and adults with and without disabilities,
  • indirect observations of soldiers with war injuries, and
  • discussions surrounding healthcare reform,

Kathy decided to pursue an advanced degree in art related to healthcare.

 
January 2010, Kathy graduated with an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in Vermont.  Through self-directed studies that included sculpture, music, and creative writing, she explored concepts surrounding wholeness, the creative process, and the role of hope in transformative events.  In the end, she pushed her practice into poetry, essay and playwriting, and interactive performances as ways to examine human capabilities and potentialities. As a part of her coursework at Goddard, Kathy founded Nurse-Artists International, an arts and humanities in healthcare organization, in 2009. With a mission to build healthier communities with creativity and compassion, the organization designs its programming to help individuals and groups meet their health initiatives and build their life skills.  Additionally, it provides associations for nurses and other healthcare workers involved in all artistic disciplines a platform for networking, exhibiting/performance, educational, and employment opportunities. ( For more information, check out the group's website: www.nurseartistsinternational.org)   
 
As a nurse and artist, Kathy looks to bring her work to places 
where people seek a personal experience with the arts and the creative process and to work with organizations to bring the healing aspects of the arts to larger and more diverse audiences.
 
                       "Exhilaration: The Red Mann Group"