Artist Bios

Steve Barr

Visiting Artist

I began my career as a Cartoonist in fourth grade, when I copied a drawing of Mickey Mouse onto the top of my desk. My teacher must have really loved it, because she invited me to stay after school and spend a little extra time with her that day!

She kindly suggested that I might want to begin doodling on paper instead of the furniture. So I took her advice, and began creating comic books and selling them to my classmates in exchange for their lunch money. Apparently, I was fairly successful. I have a bit of a tummy these days, and most of my former classmates are still skinny.

By the time I reached the seventh grade, I was selling my cartoons to magazines and newspapers. And I've been at it ever since!

I've worked with Mobil, Bell Atlantic (Verizon), Tribune Media Services, the Complete Idiot's Guides, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Multi-Ad Services, Impact Books, Peel Publications, Super Duper Publications, SmileMakers, Childswork/Childsplay, The Bureau For At-Risk Youth, and many other wonderful companies.

See more of Steve's efforts at https://drawntohelp.com/

Michael Tomassoni

Volunteer

Artist Michael Guy Tomassoni began detailed drawing when he was very young. As a five year old in a Montessori classroom he would draw detailed freehand maps of all the continents and countries. He studied drawing, painting and printmaking at the University of North Florida. Mike likes to work with many mediums and especially enjoys mixing different mediums together to see what he can create. Perhaps in part because he is color challenged, Mike is particularly drawn to black and white, pen and ink drawings which he has been producing over the past eleven years. He loves collaborative art and believes coloring pages allow for limited-less possibilities for artistic expression with all ages. Nature and the cosmos are his ultimate inspirations. He believes art is medicine for the mind, body and soul and desires to share and collaborate through art for infinity and beyond….

Helen Meatte

Volunteer

Helen has been a cherished volunteer with AWAHIH. As a retired art educator, Helen views AWAHIH as an extension of her jobs mission of creating "a positive and enriching experience where no one felt they had failed and were able to create a form of immortality in the art they produced." Her favorite part of volunteering with AWAHIH is observing patients and their families as they "forget momentarily where they are as they escape to another plane of existence that is part of making something with one's hands". We appreciate all of Helen's time, energy, and gentle approach to providing fine art sessions to patients and their families!

Matthew Richards

Artist In Residence

At age 17, Matt won best student illustration in a statewide competition by the Providence Journal, and soon after was awarded the Presidential Scholarship to study Sequential Art and Game Development at the Savannah College of Art & Design, where he eventually graduated with two B.F.A.’s.. Matt began his work with pediatric oncology patients in 1993, studying under local cartoonist Steve Brosnihan at the American Cancer Society’s Camp Hope, where he previously attended as a camper. From 2008 to 2010, Matt worked with artist Xavier Cortada at the American Cancer Society’s annual R.O.C.K. families weekend to create a series of collaborative art pieces created by children and siblings of newly diagnosed patients. In 2010 - 2011 Matthew worked as a board member and graphic artist with the Sarasota Partnership for Children’s Mental Health, recording conversations through live graphical interpretation, and encouraging creative expression through the arts and conversation. In 2015 Matt began volunteering with Art with a Heart in Healthcare, and was eventually taken on as a resident artist, where he continues to assist in providing a fine art experience for hospitalized patients and their families.

Dylan Bauer

Artist In Residence

Dylan Bauer has his Bachelors in Fine Arts degree from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL and a Associates in Arts degree from the Florida School of Arts in Palatka, FL. At the University of North Florida he worked in painting, drawing, and printmaking as his major and minored in photography. Dylan has always loved making art because it was the only thing that he really succeeded in throughout school. He grew up with a learning disability that affected him and his concentration in other subjects lacked. Dylan enjoys working with a variety of media and learning new techniques to broaden his artistic abilities. He continues to grow as an artist, through experimentation, critiques, and reviews.

Jill Swanson

Artist In Residence

Jillian Swanson is a Cuban- Porto Rican American born and raised in Miami Florida. Jill has been a serious artist since her junior year of high school. Jill obtained her Bachelors in Fine arts from the University of North Florida in 2014, concentrating on Drawing, Painting and Print making. With minors in Art History and Education. After graduating from her bachelors Jill graduated with her Masters in the Arts in Medicine from the University of Florida in 2017, graduating with honors. When not at work at Wolfson’s with the Art with a Heart in Healthcare program Jill also works at Painting with a Twist teaching participants how to paint preselected images.

Brooke McKinney, MA

Artist In Residence

Hello there! My name is Brooke McKinney. I am a born-and-raised Floridan currently living in Atlantic Beach. I graduated with from the University of North Florida and then went on to earn a masters degree in Arts In Medicine from the University of Florida. Art, nature, and holistic wellness are my passions. One of the greatest sources of purpose in my life is being an Artist in Residence. I am an avid believer that the arts are essential to our healing, health, and well-being. My hope is that through sharing the creative process with others, such as patients and their families, I can evoke a sense of well-being and wholeness within them. I also aspire to increase awareness and appreciation for the natural world and the animals who inhabit it. Creating art is my way to meditate, to relax, and to feel free. Here is my motto: Slow down, make or admire art, and savor a sunset!

Anne Roberts

Artist In Residence

Graduated from l’université d’Angers in language studies and La Sorbonne Paris IV in literature.  Taught French, Latin and English as a second language in New York, Philadelphia and Jacksonville. More recently and for the better part of the last 20 years; I turned to my love of theatre and worked for Players by the sea, Limelight, Five and dime, ABET, First Act as a scenic painter. I received several local awards for my work around the Jacksonville area. Presently, I create art with kids in the theatre program First Act as well as with Art with a Heart at Wolfson and Nemours.

Madeline Firestone

Program Director

I have had a passion for all things art since I can remember and knew it would always play a major role in my life. Five years after attending Flagler College and receiving my BA in fine arts I started volunteering for Art with a Heart in Healthcare. I was blessed to be offered an artist in residence position and after six years was honored to accept the program director title. In my personal art life I love to use acrylic paint to create pet portraits, mixed media to create fun floral peace sign wreaths, and laugh with my friends making blind contour portraits. Life is beautiful and when art is involved on a regular basis it makes the journey so much brighter.

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