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Your creativity and passion open pathways for important conversations without instantly polarizing folks. And the world sorely needs that right now. Rev. Dr. Nancy Burton Dilliplane

She was amazing. Really powerful talk and gripping portraits. If you have a chance to hear her or see her art…go!Well worth your time. Bonnie H., attendee

How would we respond to social issues if we actually met people living through them? Theresa’s portrait stories bring us closer to the real lives impacted by controversial issues and policies.  Art As Social Inquiry combines art and advocacy as a way to engage audiences. 

The artist shares her subjects’ stories that challenged her to act. She demonstrated with portraits and signs in Washington DC for 5 months where she had a eureka moment. She understood that compassion is for the courageous and fierce. And those willing to persist discover that practicing compassion takes us to our own epiphanies and personal peace.

Theresa has taken Art As Social Inquiry’s portraits to conferences, churches, schools, and other venues. Her work has appeared in many newspaper articles, TV programs, and journals – most recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your time, talent and passion and thank you for sharing them with Trinity. Everyone is still talking about how you gave health care a human face and story.  So powerful. Blessings on all you are about.” The Rev. Dr. Nancy Burton Dilliplane, Trinity Episcopal Church, Buckingham, PA

Over the years, I’ve seen Theresa present her paintings, and talk about the lives they portray, and each time, they become more real to me. There is this deep emotional connection that Theresa makes with each person, and it becomes incarnate through her telling. Theresa’s men and women are living, breathing embodiments of healthcare, personifying all the issues that drive the movement. It is in some part her paintings, each one looking me in the eye, into my soul, and asking me to know them, but a large part is feeling Theresa’s love and passion. She didn’t just paint pictures, she knew each person and I think, they knew her. She shares not just her art, but her own pain and grief and laughter and happiness, and you can’t help but feel that.  She doesn’t just see and express the world, she lives it. And recognizes it, and then, lovingly, teaches us.  Beth T. Activist, Bucks County, PA

Such an inspiration. I was in this class today. Thanks for coming!  – Bonnie S. student, Rutgers School of Social Work

You come well endorsed! – Cheryl O.A., Buxmont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Past Presentations 

ART & ADVOCACY: Using Art for Social Change

The artist shares stories of her tumble into the rabbit hole where the uninsured and sick with no employer-sponsored insurance were left scratching their way out of nightmarish medical events. Who are these people, anyway?

The portraits tell the story. Behind every medical bankruptcy, untreated chronic disease, and death due to lace of access to healthcare, there is a face. Haunted by these faces and stories, the artist squared off with her government in Washington, D.C.

Five months of “standing” with portraits in our nation’s Capitol changes a person. The artist shares her personal story of transformation.

A speaker, you ask?


TRUTH TOUR 2012 MEDICARE: What’s at stake?

In 2012 the artist took Art As Social Inquiry​ on the road in her home district in Bucks County, PA. Using her First Amendment right of free speech and assembly in public spaces, she teamed up with experts from National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare​, Pennsylvania Health Access Network​, and Penn Action​ to talk about the value of Medicare, the healthcare law and how the Ryan budget dismantles this important program for seniors.

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