Heather Silverman, 24, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, grew up in a Messianic Jewish home. Her father is the leader of a Messianic congregation. She says she began to truly follow Yeshua (Jesus) when she was eighteen.

“My grandfather and father always had a camera out,” Heather remembers. “Granted they were always taking pictures of my family, but I got used to seeing a camera and working one. My grandparents bought me a point-and-shoot film camera for my bat mitzvah. I am not sure when my shift came from documenting with the camera to creating art with it. But going to school for art was the most natural decision for me.”

Heather has a BFA in Fine Arts and Art Education Licensure from the University of Cincinnati. She will be attending the Maryland Institute College of Art in the fall for an MFA in Community Arts.

“I work primarily with photography and mixed media,” says Heather. “I am a tactile person, and I like creating processes for creating work.

“My passion for community art happened in my junior year of college. I helped develop an after- school art program for a community center located in a very poor part of Cincinnati. I remember being so fulfilled and so in love with how my students were growing and taking ownership of their work.

“I have worked on a lot of projects helping others. I have created expressive art projects for patients with dissociative identity disorder. I illustrated a children’s book for doctors in Africa to use to educate parents and children on preventing/treating malaria. I have also had an ongoing project, for the past several years, of painting 6,000,000 dots in honor of the 6,000,000 Jewish people who lost their lives in the Holocaust. This will be a lifelong work, I am sure.”

The motivation for her art:

“An artist is constantly finding purpose and motivation his/her entire life. My work has served as an outlet for grief and healing. I have noticed that I deal with a lot of topics on health, disease, family and spirituality, but they all deal with me (for the most part). If this year off between undergraduate and graduate school has taught me anything, it is that without art, I am not fulfilled, which is definite motivation!”

Her thoughts on being
a Messianic Jewish artist:

“I spent my junior year of college trying to create ‘Messianic Jewish art.’ It was great because my peers had a lot of questions and were genuinely interested in hearing what I believed. It was discouraging though, because they weren’t able to understand what I was trying to say in my work or understand the Scriptures in order to get a full grasp of my project. It was then that I stopped feeling that the subject matter needed to be Jewish and about Yeshua in order for me to express those spiritual themes. It’s about the artist, their actions and how they use those themes.”

You can view Heather’s work at http://heatherelaineart.wix.com/heather-elaine-art and http://heatherelaine1.wordpress.com/