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Ellie Fuson is an artistic 13-year-old who likes to sing, dance, act, read and listen to show tunes. Going to see “Wicked” was special for Ellie because she could picture herself on the stage. She was 7 when she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, which makes it tough to write or stand for long periods of time.
Her favorites: Dancing, “You’ll be Back” from the musical “Hamilton,” the smell after it rains and Grinders the restaurant
Kristin Goering was born and raised in a rural community in central Kansas. Inspired to pursue art from a young age, she earned her fine arts degree with an emphasis in printmaking from Bethel College in 1992. She spent her early career as a freelance artist and illustrator with the Mennonite Press and Hearth Publishing in Newton, Kansas. Kristin is always on the lookout for the elements within a landscape or an experience that tether them in our memories as a reality. She currently spends her days painting in her studio in Kansas City, where she lives with her husband and two children.
Emma Horton, 7, has been dealing with dermatomyositis since she was 3 years old, but she doesn’t let it stop her from moving, playing and having fun with friends and family. The taco fan is happiest when she gets to draw, paint, go shopping and play with Legos and Barbies. She also likes to spend time at the park and the zoo, where it’s “fun to watch the polar bears and penguins.”
Her favorites: Taylor Swift, art, her teddy bear, Dean, and her birthday, of course (she turns 8 next week!)
Anna Horton is a self-taught artist who has freelanced for 20 years. For Anna, art is a way of life, and creativity is her passion. She enjoys growing every day as an artist, exploring new ideas and medias. As a mother of three and a wife, she loves every new adventure that comes her way.
Emma Webb - Kirkpatrick
Emma Webb-Kirkpatrick, 15, says good grades, Barbies and puns put a smile on her face. She has had idiopathic arthritis since she was 10, but her parents say her strong will and big heart keep her going. Her hobbies include singing, playing cards and video games, baking and decorating cupcakes. In addition to her four siblings, Emma has six pets: a turtle, guinea pig, dog and three cats.
Her favorites: Tennis, the color blue, baby turtles and Happy Garden restaurant
Erick Warner is a lifelong Kansas Citian who established his artistic roots here as a student at the Kansas City Art Institute. He graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and the ability to carry on dinner conversations concerning Plato, Nietzsche and Moby Dick. He then worked as a designer, art director and illustrator at a few local ad agencies. Craving a more authentic creative outlet, his first supplies included paint, brushes, canvas and a radio. Since then, he has expanded that list to include anything intriguing. For Erick, different thoughts inspire different methods and approaches.
George Cusick is an 11-year-old who likes spending time with his friends and playing sports. He was diagnosed with Blau syndrome when he was 5, but that hasn’t stopped him from running around with his friends and brothers, Jack (13) and Henry (9). George’s strength never ceases to amaze his parents, who are grateful for a strong support system, flexible jobs and access to amazing medical care.
His favorites: Basketball, the color blue, Christmas and dogs (especially his English Bulldog, Bob Uecker)
John Bukaty is noted for his images of musicians, painted live while they play on stage. John’s journeys have taken him all over the world, including the far reaches of India under a Bodhi tree, and festivals such as the Kansas City Jazz and Blues Festival and Aspen Jazz Fest. Whatever the occasion may be, John brings a spirit of inspiration and improvisation that captures the soul of what’s going on around him. He currently resides in New Orleans.
Jillian Reid is a 9-year-old high blue belt in karate who wants to be an architect or a children’s doctor – blood doesn’t gross her out – when she grows up. Her fondest vacation memory is playing in the ocean in Florida, seeing the waves go over her head and feeling the sand massage her feet. Jillian was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when she was 6 years old. She isn’t crazy about taking pills every day but realizes that they help keep her healthy.
Her favorites: “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift, pizza (especially from Minsky’s) and taekwondo
D. Ross "Scribe"
Donald Ross, also known as “Scribe,” is known for his animated public murals in midtown Kansas City and throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, where he also has gallery shows. Scribe incorporates a menagerie of animal characters in his art, interspersed with personal iconography, biblical and fairytale references, animation and metaphor in works intended as contemporary parables for public audiences. He lives in Kansas City and is the resident artist at Children’s Mercy Hospital, for which he has painted murals around the metro, installed a Terrazzo flooring project and airbrushed the hospital’s LifeFlight helicopter and two airplanes.
Katie Modlin is a 15-year-old with a passion for singing and music. When she’s not hanging out with her friends, she’s probably keeping up with them on her phone. She also likes to shop, go to the movies and volunteer at dog shelters. In 2015, she was diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, which hasn’t dampened her positive attitude but has limited some of her outdoor and physical activities.
Her favorites: Music from “Rent,” “Wicked” and “Les Misérables,” horses, ice cream and volleyball
Michael Molick has been painting for more than 20 years. He has studied under various artists in Chicago, Saugatuck, Michigan, and Door County, Wisconsin. His previous bodies of work include florals, seascapes, landscapes, figuratives and cottage scenes. Michael has a studio in The Bauer in the Crossroads Arts District and has created a new body of work he calls “organic, neo-expressionist abstract,” which incorporates color fields and texturing and has an intentional spontaneity. One of his greatest joys is working with someone who has never painted, or has been told never to paint, and to pull the artist kicking and screaming out of them.
Lena Henke is looking forward to being a veterinarian when she grows up. For now, the 10-year-old is preparing by playing with her Littlest Pet Shop toys and her pet dog, Buster the black poodle. She was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis when she was 6, but nothing stops her from doing what she loves: swimming, riding her scooter and cheering on the KC Royals!
Her favorites: The song “Happy,” ice cream, the Royals and anything pink or blue
William Rose, a figurative/portrait artist working primarily in oil and charcoal, is primarily a self-taught artist who in mid-life followed his passion for art and discovered a previously untapped talent for drawing and painting. This led to figurative and portrait work, representation with multiple galleries and commission requests from local and national art collectors. His artwork is also in prominent corporate and university collections, including H&R Block, Tribeca Flashpoint in Chicago, the Archer Foundation in Leawood and Kansas State University. For Texas A&M, he was commissioned to paint 17 oil paintings for the university’s new football stadium. Just this year, the Kansas City Royals commissioned William to paint a mural-sized canvas celebrating the World Series Championship to hang in the main lobby of Kauffman Stadium.
Madison Foreman is 15 years old. She also answers to “Madi” and “MooMooChickaWa.” She enjoys karate (first-degree black belt), reading and writing her own books and songs. She feels at home in the outdoors, riding her bike and hunting with her brother-in-law. A year ago, Madison was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic rheumatoid arthritis. Her parents are proud that she isn’t letting this stop her from teaching self-defense karate to children with limitations.
Her favorites: Christian and country music, the movie “War Room” and horses and dogs (especially Pokey Dott Com, her long-haired mini dachshund)
Simmons is from Kansas City and has a background in painting and drawing. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communications and Illustration. She typically seeks to capture a love for nature and the beauty of the ordinary moment in her paintings. Laura also enjoys working in many mediums although mixing, digital collage and acrylics are her favorites. She believes these give her the effect of an almost “accidental” blending of colors.
Maggie Miller, 8, loves helping animals and aspires to become a veterinarian. She’s happiest when she’s spending time with her friends and caring for her dog, Elsa. Her hobbies include dancing, singing, reading and listening to music. Cutting with scissors, tying her shoes and taking the lid on and off of a marker are the little things that challenge Maggie, who has polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. But she’s determined to do everything her classmates do and not be left out.
Her favorites: Flamingos, “Mary Poppins” and eating at Texas Roadhouse
Joy Baker is a multimedia artist and owner of Createful Studios in Lenexa, Kansas. She is a full-time artist with an emphasis on charity fundraising for arts programs in the Kansas City metro area. Joy specializes in meaningful and symbolic art on canvas. Her vibrant, intricate and decorative art is mostly inspired by international cultural symbols, artifacts, architecture and the symmetry and beauty found in nature. Her intention through her art, and her life, is to communicate inner peace and create beauty that begins from the inside. Each piece of work begins in the center, organically developing layer by layer, an evolution Joy celebrates with each brushstroke.
Pyper Spiller is 9 now, but pauciarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis has been a part of her life for most of that time – she was diagnosed at 18 months. She’s excited about being an artist one day because she loves to draw, paint, sculpt and create! She also enjoys practicing gymnastics, riding her bike and spending time with her three cats. Her favorite vacation memory so far is when she flew to Disney World with her entire family.
Her favorites: The Royals World Series documentary, the color blue and tacos
The seed of Barbara Todd’s painting career was planted in childhood when she discovered illustration through the world of the “funnies” in the Sunday newspaper. She has since developed a strong reputation as a portrait artist in her own right. Barbara’s work has been recognized in a number of juried shows, including an award for the “Peggy Karr Glass Co” decorative plates collection. Barbara lives and teaches painting in Raymore, Missouri. She enjoys a life of marriage of more than 30 years to Larry Todd, and parenting two sons, a daughter-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter.
The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Arthritis Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. Our goal is to chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life – and making each day another stride towards a cure. We also publish Arthritis Today, the award-winning magazine that reaches 4.2 million readers.