Meet the Artists!

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2023 Women Create Artists


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Ashley “ACE” Cathey (Lead Artist) is a multidisciplinary social change
artist, curator, muralist and CEO. Her large, oil and acrylic portraits hope to
centralize the experiences of black bodies during and after the African
Diaspora. Cathey’s self-taught artistry started to emerge ideas of feminism
through the lens of women of color; who have influenced her through the art
of music, literature, and spoken word.

Cathey’s work has gained local and global recognition from the supporters
of her movement. She curated the exhibit “Black Before I was Born: a
meditation on identity” to speak on the lack of representation in the world of
fine arts. She believes art is activism and often uses her paintings, murals
and large scale public art pieces to bring a voice to social issues and realize creative place making. Cathey’s progression has also led her to create opportunities for other emerging artists through her arts organization. Cathey is the Founder and CEO of The Healing Walls Project, an arts organization revolutionizing the way we create public art, focusing on the amplification and healing of BIPOC artists through the creation of public art in their communities around the USA.



Liv Greene is a queer Americana singer/songwriter based in Nashville, TN, whose music “envelops a forlorn loneliness that’s at once poignant and crushing.” – American Songwriter.  Inspired by the records her parents played in her childhood home in DC—artists like Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, and Ella Fitzgerald— Greene’s passion for songs and storytelling started early and took off the moment she taught herself her first guitar chords at age 12. Greene is an award-winning writer and performer. In 2019 alone, she won the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk Competition, and was first alternate in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Contest for Songwriters



Priya Rama’s art is born from her chronic migraines. When one begins, along with the pain and pressure, colors and shapes appear in her mind’s eye. These get transformed into hyperchromatic paintings of resilience.

An abstract expressionist, her paintings highlight a spontaneous, intuitive, and personal mark-making, with rich color and palpable texture. Her paintings especially explore dualities– of pain/beauty, emphatic color/delicate brush lines, rich details/quiet resting spots, spontaneity/deliberate placement, translucency/opacity, and contemplation/assertion. 

Priya thinks of her paintings as self-portraits, because as she says, “My art is part of me, and I am part of my art”. She adds, “My paintings emerge from within. They are part of an ongoing conversation with myself that I have had since my childhood. The process is entirely natural, one that I cannot separate from myself”.

Priya has been interviewed for CBS’  ‘Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley”, which aired on February 16, 2020, as well as WebMD. She has also been interviewed for multiple print and online publications, as well as radio, and has presented to several art therapy groups. Priya’s paintings can be found in private and corporate collections around the country. 



D ebbie Cannatella began her career as a full-time gallery artist when she relocated to Chicago from Baton Rouge in 2005 after 20 years of painting part-time. Since then, she’s traveled nationally teaching workshops, opened two galleries in Texas, and has won awards in Chicago and throughout the southern states. In 2018 she spent two-weeks at PRO VOBIS Artist Residence in Perugia, Italy followed by an exhibition at Palazzo Franchi in Assisi. She currently lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband where she works in paint, collage, inks, textiles, enamel, metals, and volunteers her time working with community nonprofits.

Publications include Artistic Touch 4, the Artist Magazine, the 2015 edition of the Best of Watercolor, Splash 16: Exploring Texture! and the 2016 edition of Art Journey Animals: A Collection of Inspiring Contemporary Masterworks, both by Northlight Books. She has held membership/board positions with AWS, NWS, SW, KWS , GCWS and WSST. She is currently the Kentucky representative for Southern Watercolor Society and is a member of the Weaver’s Guild, Contemporary Quilt and Fiber Artists, Surface Design Association, Studio Art Quilt Associates, and is a signature member of the Women’s Art Club of Cincinnati and the Louisiana Watercolor Society.



An internationally exhibiting painter and sculptor, Toby has shown most recently in Tasmania, Melbourne, Atlanta, and Chattanoga. Her work has appeared on the cover of Professional Artist Magazine and Hellbent Magazine, among many others.

She has won numerous awards and fellowships. Toby is based in Frankfort, KY where she teaches and mentors artists of all ages, and volunteers her time to promote community arts.   



Carol Blum is a figurative artist working in two- and three-dimensional mediums.  Carol is intrigued by the interaction between a painting or sculpture and the viewer, forcing an exchange in gaze between the work and its audience – looking out and looking in.  Her work often fills the surface, pushing against the edges of the picture.  The perspective in her work is occasionally a bit out of kilter or proportion but always finds the figurative elements.

Following a 30+ year career in research administration, Carol completed the Master of Fine arts program at the Washington (DC) Studio School in 2019.  She has had work in juried exhibitions across the country, maintaining a studio in Cincinnati OH.  Carol holds a PhD in history, MA in feminist studies, and BA in theater.


Alyssa Braud is a native of Baton Rouge, LA and has trained with Cangelosi Dance Project, Dancers’ Workshop, and other studios in Baton Rouge. While dancing throughout the community, she has studied under a variety of teachers across the U.S. including Susan Quinn Williams, Nan Giordano, Debbie Allen, Leslie Scott, and Val Salnikov. Alyssa trained under Brett Garfinkel and Kirstin Riehl at Northwestern State University and graduated from Louisiana State University where she trained under Susan Perlis and Claudio Ribeiro. She has performed in a variety of dance productions by being a part of NSU’s dance company, LSU’s dance ensemble, and performing with Staib Dance in Sant’Agata, Italy in the summer of 2019. From 2017-2021, Alyssa was a guest artist and company member with Of Moving Colors Productions. Throughout her years at OMC, she danced in several productions such as Kick it OutTell Me More, and Music and Movement with Opera Louisiane. She was also given opportunities to teach dance classes and choreograph for the company. From 2021-2022, Alyssa danced with Tennessee Ballet Theatre, located in Memphis, performing in The Nutcracker and The Secret World of Jack Robinson. Alyssa now lives in Sarasota, dancing with Sarasota Contemporary Dance Ensemble and choreographing virtually for Tennessee Ballet Theatre. 



The name Melissa created for herself is MLUV, pronounced (EM LOVE). This name signifies her lifelong search for self-love and gave her power over her experiences. After many years of mental pain and darkness including passive-aggressive self-destruction, she emerged victorious. “I Am still here!!!“, she says. She communicates her difficult experiences thru the Arts using Poetry. In her spare time, she chases rainbows, watches sunsets and writes poetry. Her personal mantra: “Positivity, It’s A Movement Baby!

MLUV is an Author, Poet, Writer, Speaker, Podcaster, and Mental Health Advocate.  She is the Creator/Host/Producer-Live Life In The Purple Radio Show-2015-2018, is an author of Thoughts From A Purple Mind and Sounds From A Purple Mind. She is the CEO of Purple Door Creations, LLC. She is a group facilitator for Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia a nd the Program Manager One New HeartBeat


Doris Thurber is a fabric artist who lives Frankfort Kentucky. Her primary art form for over three decades has been the creation of colorful batik wall hangings.

In the last few years, she has also developed a highly dimensional art form that she calls cloth collage. In this new work she often combines her own batik designs with other types of cloth to create bold, colorful, and whimsical images.

Doris, along with two other artists, began a program in Franklin County KY for the court system, which guides participants through writing, visual art, theater and other creative processes to help give expression to feelings, experiences and struggles. Now, called “Yes Arts Recovery Program”, in partnership with the Drug Court, helps participants round out a comprehensive disruption to the addiction cycle.



She is Art. Healing. Inspiration. Influence. Empowerment. Advocacy. Entertainment. Change. Love. Justice and laughter all wrapped in a 120lb frame that packs a powerful punch.  Equipped with a dynamic delivery and a no-nonsense approach to the truth, poet Yo’ Sis speaks on a large spectrum of subjects to widely diverse audiences, nationwide. She has been welcomed by churches and cafes, as well as The Georgia State Capitol and Center Stage to share her voice by way of the SPOKEN WORD. 

She was an Icon Award Recipient for the 9th annual Tamika Festival in Atlanta, GA, awarded by international poet and entertainer, Georgia Me. She was spoken word’s Grinder of the Year 2017, and she has been formally recognized as an esteemed leader in her community.

She is a proud member of R2ISE Theatre and Purple Door Creations, the long- time host of Reflective Soul Series in Atlanta, Ga, and the sole owner and operator of 515 Creations, LLC. She released her debut album, Srirach and Sweet Tea, in summer 2017 and has been on Reverbnation’s Top Ten Atlanta, GA 40+ times. In summer 2019, she dropped a rap collaboration project entitled, Mixed Emotions, with Miami rapper Only1Tipy and is the author of Yo’ Sista’s Keeper, a collection of poetry, short stories, and other stuff. 

She is Woman. She is Power. She is Light. She is Fire. She is Growth. She is Grace. She is Hope. She is Faith. …She is not just an artist. For she is, indeed, an experience. 

Acknowledged at an early age for her various artistic abilities, Cassaundra Diane was born in Hagerstown, MD but she calls Georgia “home.” Aside from the many roles she plays as an artist, a sister, a mother to many, and a seasoned professional in the foster care system, She is a self-proclaimed lover of God, sunshine, and strong coffee.  Connect with her on social media! IG: yo_sis__ and FB: 



Cary Cooper has toured and lived around the United States and currently calls Ashville, NC home. She is a captivating performer and award-winning songwriter, having won the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Competition in 2004 In early 2011, Cary was spotted by the producers of Troubadour, TX, a new TV docu/drama series that debuted nationwide in September, 2011 on the CW network.  Along with several other Texas songwriters, Cary was cast on the first season of the show.  

September 2012 saw Cary launch a Youtube channel called Real Women Real Songs ( featuring herself and 13 of her favorite women writers who are committed to writing a song a week from a common prompt for an entire year. Season 2 had 21 songwriters and the current Season 3 has 21 songwriters plus 7 visual artists. Follow Real Women Real Songs on facebook: Hear Cary’s Music at and



Carolyn Utigard Thomas is a contemporary artist working primary in watercolor.  Her paintings are adventures of the spirit and landscapes of the mind. She was born in Chicago, grew up in St. Paul and Indianapolis and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education degrees.

Her varied career has taken her from designing for Hallmark in Kansas City to working for Astroworld in Houston, designing and painting everything from posters and murals to stage sets.  Carolyn then had a commercial art business, creating logos, advertising illustrations and wall graphics.

In most of her work, one is led into the paintings by soft colors overlaid by geometric veils.  A dreamy feeling of fluctuating space is created.  Whatever subject explored, from angels, human and plant forms to pure design, Carolyn attributes much of her inspiration to feelings obtained during meditation, which she has practiced for many years.  Physical and spiritual worlds imaginatively merge in her art of mystery, fantasy, and vision.


Christa Kendrick resides in Atlanta, Ga. She is passionate about recovery, mental wellness, and family homelessness.  Art helps her stay positive as well as motivate others to do the same. She is a wife, mother of 3 and has a strong faith in God.

Christa has been an educator for nine years, specializing in teaching students with special needs. She recently started a T shirt business and has had a love for the arts her entire life. She finds art in everything around her; but poetry flows from her soul, finds comfort in her heart, and ignites her spirit. She says that she “can see, feel, and hear it”.



Aim Me and Renee have been best friends since their early teens when they met at an evangelical church outside of Louisville, Kentucky.  Aim Me’s Dad, a deacon, was part of a mutiny that kicked Renee’s Dad, the pastor, out of the church.  Renee and Aim Me remained friends and 12 years later- on a different spiritual journey- they fell in love.

Following their bliss, they picked up a guitar and an accordion and moved to New Orleans, singing in the French Quarter, then becoming travelling musicians who inspire a revolution of the spirit and courage of the heart. Currently they live in Southern Indiana in a homestead in the Hoosier National Forest with a host of animals and birds surrounding them. They are spiritual, environmental, and social justice activists who sing of the Love that springs from within, respect for the Earth, human rights, and healing the heart.