Kelly Sullivan is an arts crusader. Born and raised in Clinton Township, New Jersey, Sullivan knew she would be an artist when she was five years old, the year her grandmother surrounded her with paint and repeated simple but encouraging words: "Don't be shy with the paint,” a refrain that stuck. I her early years sullivan focused on musical portraiture, painting those that inspired her, including Bruce Springsteen, John Lee Hooker, BB King, Pete Seeger, Jimmy Rogers and more. Her musical works graced the walls of BB Kings Blues Club in New York for years, and showed in the Ambassador Gallery in Soho along side that of Jerry Garcia and Ron Wood. Sullivan began producing multi-artist/discipline shows in the 1980’s that evolved into hands-on experiential events featuring working studios set up to introduce inner-city kids to the power of art. Forced to worked under the constraints of a tight budget to provide a “painting experience” for guests over a week-long festival, Sullivan invented a collaborative way of painting she called FingerSmears®. Incorporating hundreds of painters, FingerSmears® use only one canvas, and no brushes. Since that week in 1994 when Sullivan staged her first FingerSmear®, over 100,000 people from around the world have participated in her collaborative paintings. Everyone from Fortune 500 CEO's, to rock stars and other celebrities (including The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Edie Falco, Carol Burnett, Harrison Ford, and William DeFoe, among many others) have dipped their fingers in paint for Kelly. FingerSmears have continued to shape her career throughout her life. This work led to an artist residency invitation where Kelly orchestrated a school wide integrated art exchange in Alta, Wyoming that collaborated with 7 sister schools around the world. Inspired by global aspects of the residency, Kelly launched Mighty Fingers Facing Change (MFFC). MFFC empowers and connecs adolescent girls through art. Kelly has produced Mighty Fingers Facing Change in 19 locations around the world, and much of her fine art depicts people and places from her global travels to over 26 countries. Sullivan shares her humorous and moving stories from a lifetime of art crusading from classrooms, to trade shows, to remote villages around the world. Her renditions of tribulation and triumph have audiences rethinking their limits and striving for more joy and peace in a key note presentation that addresses our societal need for creativity, compassion and connectedness. Kelly’s current focus is on painting in National Parks, public lands, and remote towns around the US. Her fine art, collaborative art, and public speaking can be found at KellySullivan.Live
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