Thank you Puffin Foundation for a 2017 grant to support Art As Social Inquiry’s mission.
Art As Social Inquiry’s latest talk is called
Healthcare a Human Right: Moving into Compassion.
“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
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 for those willing to persist, practicing compassion takes us to our own peace and joy.
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.
For more information and to book this talk please write:email@example.com
Healthcare, a Human Right: Moving into Compassion…on the road.
Book this talk today firstname.lastname@example.org
May 17 at 7PM — Next talk is at Main Line Art Center hosted by Havertown-Area Community Action Network. Hope to see you there! (See poster)
Thank you to these groups for hosting Art As Social Inquiry in 2018!
- Buxmont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Warrington,PA
- Chalfont New Britain Dems, New Britain, PA
- Trinity Episcopal Church, Buckingham, PA
- North Penn Arts Alliance, Lansdale, PA
- Havertown Community Action Network at Main Line Art Center, PA
2.2018 Healthcare wonk Charles Gaba at ACASignups.net gives a shout-out to Art As Social Inquiry in his blog.
11.7.2017 The Journal of the American Medical Association featured a piece about Art As Social Inquiry‘s healthcare painting series in The JAMA Network online edition.
6.2017 “My harder-hitting signs and messages are a response to the proposed healthcare policy changes that, if enacted, will kill people.The new GOP healthcare plan is poised to make getting insurance even harder for many millions of Americans. I have been investigating how people get healthcare, and the needed insurance that pays for medical services, for almost a decade. I saw the Affordable Care Act as a first step toward ending the health insurance crisis. I decided to support President Obama’s 2010 new healthcare law. I understood how it’s provisions would help the subjects whose portraits I painted and stories I told. These portrait stories represent many millions who suffered similar difficulties. The present GOP leadership is moving to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with draconian measures that will harm low and middle income, Americans. I believe healthcare is a human right. Politicians have made healthcare political. When fellow citizens are harmed by their government, I must speak up politically. Some of my recent signs have been more hard-hitting. The goal is to get the GOP leadership’s attention. I respect that all have the right and obligation to hold their representatives accountable whether I agree with them or not. I reserve that right for myself as well.”
5.8.2017 Huffington Post mentions Art As Social Inquiry’s advocacy work in the article, “Yes People Die When They Don’t Have Access to Health Care.” The piece is about Billy Koehler who died trying to get treatment for a defective defibrillator. Billy’s portrait is part of Art As Social Inquiry’s healthcare series. The “death portrait” depicts Billy half in and half out of life.
3.8.2017 Theresa Pussi Artist BrownGold attends the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce full committee hearing,Markup of Committee Print, Budget Reconciliation Legislative Recommendations and H. Res. 154, in Washington, D.C. In another words, the Energy and Commerce Committee marked up the new GOP healthcare bill called the American Health Care Act. Check out her tee shirt straight from the Art As Social Inquiry studio.
2.2017 Rally outside Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s (PA-8) office to call for keeping the Affordable Care Act in place. A repeal would haveto insure more people, offer the same or better benefits, and cost less.
2.2017 Pussi Artist and other activists are featured inhealthinsurance.org’s, “You’re protesting ACA repeal. Is anyone listeing? by Lisa Zamasky.
1.2017 Women’s March on Washington. Pussi Artist was there. You can find her essay about the experience here.
1.2017 Buxmont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship hosted Theresa for her latest talk, “Compassion as a Selfish Act.” Exercising our compassion muscle teaches us how to be compassionate with ourselves. Compassion for self sets the soul free. To inquire about booking this presentation email email@example.com
7/2016 Java Cat Cafe and Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin hosts Art As Social Inquiry. Paintings from the project from June 18 through July 29. Pussi spoke to the group about the project; how it led her to demonstrating in Washington DC; and the true meaning of compassion.
9.2015 Thanks to FL activist Fred Christian for the interview. Fred’s portrait will be the face of what it means when states do NOT expand Medicaid.
The Affordable Care Act included provisions for states to expand their Medicaid program to cover low-wage earners. Florida chose NOT to expand Medicaid. The state’s move leaves 800,000 uninsured, and $18 billion federal dollars on the table. That is about politics not people.
10.2.2014 Once again, Theresa had the pleasure of speaking to Lori Schlosser’s class at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. The class is called “Health and Aging.” Pussi shared stories about her journey from uninformed business owner to artist advocating for access to healthcare. She told many of the stories behind the faces in the portraits as well as anecdotes from standing in front of the US Supreme Court and Capitol in Washington DC. “Thanks Lori and students! It was fun.”
3.24.2014 Theresa was invited back to Ms. Lori Schlosser’s class at the Rutgers School of Social Work. She presented the Art As Social Inquiry talk, ART & ADVOCACY – Using Art for Social Change. To book a presentation please write firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.6.2104 Thank you to the good people at Weavers Way Co-op for inviting Theresa to give a presentation about the Affordable Care Act to some of their members.She shared Art As Social Inquiry’sportrait stories about healthcare and explained the healthcare law. (Photo album of ACA presentations here.)
12.17.2013 CBS 3 hosted a phone-a-thon at their television studios in Philly. Theresa put on her PA Health Access Network certified ACA trainer hat to take questions about the healthcare law from the viewers.
10.6.2013BuxMont Universalist Unitarian Fellowship invited the artist to share a bit about Art As Social Inquiry at their two Sunday services. She shared stories of “standing” with portraits in Washington DCto face her government and bearing witness for those suffering under our current system for accessing healthcare. She spoke of the dynamic between compassion and intellect, and how to harness both for real solutions. The presentations get animated at times.
10.2013 Art As Social Inquiry joins with PA Health Access Network, Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition and Keystone Progress to present informational sessions about the Affordable Care Act (Obmamacare) throughout eastern Pennsylvania. Theresa is a PA Health Access Network certified ACA presenter. Photo album is on ASI’s Facebook page.
9.13.2013 Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition invited Art As Social Inquiry to display paintings at the event, ACA (Obamacare) Rollout: What Every Agency and Professional Needs to Know. Theresa spoke briefly about her project and introduced the moderator, Ann Torregrossa of PA Health Funders Collaborative. Panelists were Debbie Feierman of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Athena Smith Ford of Pennsylvania Health Access Network and Laura Line of Resources for Human Development .
8.21.2013 The Midweek Wire wrote about Art as Social Inquiry— portraits, town hall log and the genesis of the project. Thanks Midweek Wire! Theresa stands by portraits she created as part of her “Art as Social Inquiry” project. For the past four years, she has focused on health care. Each portrait is meant to tell personal stories of individuals struggling to access health care in the U.S.
8.19.2013 This article and video are about town halls in Pennsylvania’s 8th district.The ASI feature, Tracking Town Halls: Do Unscripted Constituent Public Gatherings Matter? logs the PA-8 town hall daily schedule .Theresa started the log innocently enough as way to not miss any town halls.She wished to take ASI portraits to town halls to show the congressman some faces of real people struggling under our current system for accessing healthcare and to challenge him on what she characterizes as “misstatements” about the healthcare law. The issue of the lack of in-person town halls in our district became a stand-alone issue. Tracking Town Halls: Do Unscripted Constituent Public Gatherings Matter? has become a social art project – a log of town halls over a long period of time. For what purpose? One cannot know how art-making ends until it is over
6.2013 Theresa’s high school honored her work and Art As Social Inquiry in their feature: Alumni in the Spotlight: One Artist Who Is Making A Difference
6.12.2013 Theresa takes a portrait to the Pennsylvania Health Access Network rally in Harrisburg, PA. Individuals and healthcare professionals shared compelling stories. Expanding Medicaid as provided for under the Affordable Care Act would give 700,000 Pennsylvanians access to health insurance. PA’s Gov. Corbett has not agreed to expand Medicaid.
4.17.2013 Theresa followed a time-honored tradition for painters by learning from the masters. Museums usually abide by allowing painters to copy the masterpieces hanging in their galleries.The Philadelphia Museum of Art granted her request to copy Gustave Courbet’s painting, “Spanish Woman.” It’s one of Theresa’s favorite paintings. “We copy the masters not to make pretty pictures but to follow the tracks of masters by moving our brushes the way they did as a way to learn from them. We abandon our own techniques and tendencies to see what we can learn from truly accomplished painters.”
2/2013 Bunny and Eddie won the raffle! At every Truth Tour speaking event this past summer and fall, attendees put their names in a raffle jar to win a portrait. Eddie won! Since Bunny and Eddie were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary, Theresa painted them both.
2013 Tracking Town Halls: Do Unscripted Public Constituent Public Gatherings Matter? is a new category of social inquiry on Art As Social Inquiry. Town halls were happening in the district but advance notification was not forthcoming. Theresa calls her congressman’s office, Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) every day to ask about town halls.
The information is posted on the ASI blog and onFacebook as a public service to the constituents of PA-8. There has been much activity in the local press about the issue. The guest opinions, letters to the editors, town hall videos, etc. are listed by date.
2.20.2013 Town hall at Norton Ave. Baptist Church, Bristol, PA. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) commits to NOT voting to raise the eligibility age for Medicare. He is less committal when asked if he would agree to let Medicare negotiate drug prices which it is currently not permitted to do because of a sweetheart deal for big pharma. (n.b. This town hall event was not advertised. A targeted group was notified.)
1.2013 Theresa delivers the commissioned paintings of President Obama and Governor Romney to the studios of ZDF, German television, in Georgetown, Washington D.C. ZDF included the portraits in a story they aired about the 2012 US Presidential elections. For complete photo album click here.
1.2013 Ernie Powell interviews Theresa about art and activism on Pivot Point with Maya Rockeymoore on We Act Radio. Ernie is the grassroots national director for the National Committee To Preserve Social Security And Medicare.
2.12.2013 The artist in Harrisburg with Antoinette Krauss and Athena Ford of Pennsylvania Health Access Network. They are lobbying their state representatives to pressure our governor to opt into the Medicaid expansion provision of the Affordable Care Act. The speakers at the press conference outline the benefits .
11.8.2012 Theresa takes Art As Social Inquiry to Rep. Fitzpatrick’s office (R-PA 8) with Pennsylvania Working Families and Penn Action. We petitioned the congressman (through his staff) to hold a series of well-publicized town hall meetings. Theresa’s focus on healthcare was included in the list of issues such as jobs and the upcoming fiscal cliff that the group would like to see discussed in public town halls. Unexpectedly, we encountered the Congressman walking to his office. We also went into the congressman’s office to further explain our concerns.
11.3.12 Art As Social Inquiry goes electronic for Termite TV at the Rotunda, a space where art intersects the community courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania. Video and imaging artist, Alan Powell, displayed images of Theresa’s portraits about healthcare on six screens. Other images of the portraits were included in a film by contributing artists from Termite TV.
10.2012 The Truth Tour continues! Theresa has been taking her portraits to senior centers and elsewhere as a way to talk about the healthcare law. She has been sharing stories of her time “standing” outside the US Supreme Court and Capitol for 5 months. It was her way to symbolically confront her government and to bear witness for those in her art project who have suffered greatly under our current system for accessing healthcare, and the millions they represent . She talked about the mayhem outside the Supreme Court when the Justices first heard the case in March 2012 and then in June when they handed down their decision. Theresa has had the pleasure of speaking at several of PA Senator Daylin Leach’s events. Experts from the Pennsylvania Health Access Network often accompany Theresa on her speaking dates. Please contact Theresa at email@example.com to book a talk for your venue.
8.29.12 Press for Truth Tour Medicare 2012: What’s at stake?Dan Rubin of the PhiladelphiaInquirer came to the studio for an interview and followed up by coming to the Doylestown stop.The Bucks County newspaper, the Intelligencer, pick up the story. Mary Wilson of WITF ran a piece. Guest spot on The Rick Smith Show.
8.29.12 TRUTH TOUR MEDICARE 2012 : What’s at stake? is a traveling art and policy show that will help bust myths circulating about Medicare, Obamacare,and give audiences a chance to hear stories about America’s health care crisis as well as share their own.
The tour kicks off Wed. Aug. 29, 2012 with four stops in Bucks County, PA. The day is capped by an indoor art show and presentation at BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Warrington, PA. Please contact us if you would like us to speak at your event, house party or other venues. firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer/Fall 2012 Truth Tour 2012 Medicare: What’s at Stake? treks across PA’s 8th district and beyond. Theresa uses her portraits to talk about Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. She speaks at senior centers and to other groups. The focus of her talk is to debunk the political rhetoric around the law so citizens can make informed decisions. PHOTO JOURNAL
6/28/2012 Theresa stands in front of the US Supreme Court with the throngs waiting for the court to hand down their decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (The US Supreme Court declared the law constitutional with some modifications to the expansion of the Medicaid provision.) Theresa responds to the Tea Party chants (Video courtesy of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare)
6/2012 Theresa attends a conference sponsored by The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. One day was spent at the White House. Here in the Indian Treaty Room the group listened and asked questions about Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act of White House representatives
6/2012 ASI was the “closing act” at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. The group wound down after two intense days of listening and lobbying. Theresa’s presentation focused on the hardships faced by so many waiting to qualify for Medicare.
6/2012 The crew from ZDF television, German TV, came to the studio to learn about ASI and the artist behind it. Two subjects in the healthcare series are featured. Theresa talks about her painting of Courtney Leigh Huber, the young uninsured college graduate who died as a result of cutting back on her insulin (Type I diabetic) to save money. The crew interviews Joann Wallace, an uninsured widow who lost 85% of the vision in one eye because she could not get an operation for a detached retina soon enough. Here is the link. Find the story, “Amerikas tödliches Gesundheitssystem.”
4/2012 Theresa had the pleasure of introducing Holly Gonyea Dolan at the 2012 PA Health Access Network Conference. Holly received the 2012 Georgeanne Koeholer Activist of the Year Award from PHAN. Holly became a healthcare advocate after suffering a stroke at 27. Her tale of being ill and having to battle with the insurance company to get her claims paid spurred her to advocacy. She started a blog called Health on the Horizon. Holly explains the Affordable Care Act by telling stories of real people and how the law would affect their lives. Holly’s speech follows the introduction.
3/26/2012 – 3/28/2012 The US Supreme Court heard 6 1/2 hours of oral arguments to decide the constitutionality of certain parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare. Art As Social Inquiry was represented by signs and different portraits every day outside the Supreme Court.
Please check ASI’s Facebook page for a photo journal of the week. Here are links of some of the press coverage for Art As Social Inquiry. Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire; PBS Newshour’s The Rundown; The Morning Call; Washington Post Pictures (ASI weighs in with 2 photos); Bloomberg Business Week; more great pics from News Observer (ASI gets a shout out ); Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health; The Intelligencer; The Guardian (picture);Pittsburgh Post Gazette; amednews.com(picture); buzzbox.com; US Election Atlas; MercuryNews.com (pic #19, my favorite); Portfolio.com; Orlando Bulletin, Voice of America (Chinese).
(You want to get interviewed? Show up with a colorful sign and a big mouth, and someone will shove a microphone in your face. I can attest to it.)
3/23/12 NPR’s Marketplace gives ASI portrait and sign a nod! Nancy Marshall Genzer interviewed Theresa (among others) last week about the logistics of standing for hours at the Court. The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments next week about the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and Theresa will be there.
3/23/12 Theresa was a guest speaker at a “house party“ organized by the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN). She shared her artwork. She talked about her advocacy for the Affordable Care Act– taking portraits and signs to bear witness in front of the US Supreme Court and the Capitol. Antoinette Krauss and Athena Ford of PHAN were on hand to explain the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act.
1/9/2012 – 5/31/2012 Theresa is bearing witness 2-3 days/week with her portraits on the sidewalk of the US Supreme Court and the Capitol until the Supreme Court hands down a decision on the constitutionality of certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Check out the photo journal on Art As Social Inquiry’s fan page on Facebook.
10/25/2011 Theresa served on a panel at the 2011 PA Women’s Conference Philadelphia, PA. Lu Ann Cahn moderated. Panel also included Liz Lange pioneer designer in maternity wear, and Josefina Bonilla, publisher of Color Magazine. Mady Prowler assistant director of WHYY’s Coming of Age hosted this breakout session about embarking on the next phase of life regardless of age or circumstance.
10/21/2011 Art As Social Inquiry at Occupy Eric Cantor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Theresa talks to the students. “When somebody explains to me why Speaker Boehner’s life (representing Congress) is more important than this delivery pizza guy’s life (died trying to access healthcare), I’LL STOP.”
More “Occupy” photos here.
10/13/2011 Daniel Putkowski covered “Occupy Doylestown” for his blog, The Bent Page. His thoughtful interview allowed me to express why I “occupy.” Before Occupy, I had never made a sign and stood in the street to be understood and heard by my government. My interview starts at 3:24 in the video.
10/13/2011 A friend catches Theresa being interviewed at Occupy Doylestown (Thanks MD!). Little clip says it all.
8/3/2011 Theresa takes a portrait from her Art As Social Inquiry series on healthcare in the US to a town meeting in Morrisville, PA. Her point is to bear witness for an uninsured woman to her representative in the House of Representatives, Mike Fitzpatrick (PA 8th district This uninsured subject of the painting could not access healthcare in timely way and lost 85% of her vision in one eye.
3/27/2011 Theresa the Georgeanne Koehler Activist of the Year award at the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.
3/27/2011 Several Art As Social Inquiry portraits were exhibited at PA Health Access Network Conference in Harrisburg, PA.
3/24/2011 ASI portraits were exhibited. Celebrations for the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act continue at Drexel University’s 11th Street Family Health Services. A roundtable discussion and stories from people benefiting from provisions of the ACA were shared.
1/9/2011 Thank you to California Health Professional Student Alliance for inviting me to speak at their Lobby Day Event in Sacramento this past weekend. I enjoyed sharing thoughts about Art As Social Inquiry. Thank you to all who shared their health insurance stories with me. I hope to be “painting” some of those stories.
9/21/2010 Thanks once more to PA Health Access Network (PHAN) for inviting me to participate in the conference call today with Sen. Casey, Rep. Schwartz, Joanne Grossi of US Dept. of Health & Human Services, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, Pres. of National Physician’s Alliance, Antoinette Krauss of PHAN and Ron Pollack of Families USA. (My mouth hurts from dropping all the names…LOL…my part was very, very small, trust me.) I told the story of how one of my subjects, now 24 years old is being added back on to his family’s group plan because of a provision in the Affordable Care Act allowing adult children under 26 to be covered on their parents’ plans.
9.2012 I am adding a NEW PROJECT to Art As Social Inquiry. I am painting the story of How We Die. I am interested in painting people and cultures from all over the world. How do we die as inhabitants of this planet? From dignified, ritualistic death processes to gruesome murders or deaths from war. Perhaps we can understand ourselves better as living beings if we understand how we die. Send me your thoughts and stores. email@example.com
3/23/2010 As President Obama signs the health care reform bill (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), I will continue to paint portraits about the issue. I will paint the before/after coverage (or lack of it).The purpose of this project is to document this healthcare issue until the problems surrounding it are resolved. That may take some time. I continue painting the effects of government policy on real people.
3/11/2010 Art As Social Inquiry gets a mention on Sirius 114 radio show called Dr. Radio. Cindy Mercer Jones Wynne tells her story. Her 23 yr. old uninsured, employed daughter, Courtney Leigh Huber tried to save money by cutting back on her diabetes medicine at night. She fell into a coma and died in Jan. 2010. Cindy has allowed me to paint a portrait of her daughter for Art As Social Inquiry. The Julie Love Diabetics Assistance Foundation posted a memorial to Courtney. The family has a Facebook page called In Memory of Courtney Leigh Huber.
6/22/2008 I am painting portraits of people and how the access (or not) the healthcare system in the US. The series is called Healthcare in the United States. While the topic of undocumented workers/illegal immigration? has just one portrait, my health insurance series should have about 100 paintings. My goal is to ask, What does the American health insurance system look like in the faces of real people? I’ll post the paintings as I finish them. My dream is to include in this series a portrait of President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or Senator Mitch McConnell or anyone who has the very best health insurance coverage a government job has to offer.
It also occurs to me that the portraits can be instruments of social change. The portraits are pictures of real people, and they might sensitize us to the fact that all opinions affect real people. Aiming our opinions at real people may, in turn, alter our opinions.