Jonnie Tibbetts

Jonnie Tibbetts is a 21 year-old community college student studying fine arts at Moorpark College. She was recently accepted into her first choice art school, California College of the Arts in Oakland, California where she will be attending in the fall of 2015. Jonnie has sketched since she was very little and has taken many different art classes throughout her life while also experimenting with different mediums on her own time. She plans on studying animation, but is also interested in branching out into film and sculpture. Her specialty is life drawing and she finds the human form and emotion most inspiring. Jonnie is very excited to be participating in the Living Canvases project and plans to use this opportunity to stretch her abilities and to find emotional connections through her art.

Ayana Baraka

Ayana Baraka was a Cinematographer on The Hunting Ground, a documentary directed by Kirby Dick (Invisible War) and edited by Doug Blush (20 Feet From Stardom), which premiered at Sundance 2015. In 2013, Baraka joined IATSE Local 600 Camera Union and has day played on feature films like Black Nativity and The Amazing Spiderman II. She currently attends USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Baraka is currently working on a feature documentary called United Skates. She is
scheduled to shoot two narrative features, Christina’s World starring Hill Harper, and All Flowers Bend Towards The Sun, starring Alexandre Rodrigues (City of God) later this year.

Baraka’s grandmother, Emily Shack, has recently passed but has left Baraka with a history of photographs and inspiration that Baraka will continue to use in her own work. Baraka is passionate about all forms of visual story‐telling including sculpture, architecture, painting, still photography and motion picture. Her favorite artists include Jason Brinkerhoff, M’hamed Issiakhem, Picasso and Edgar Degas.

where life's beautiful journey has shown her that health is the interconnection of choice, love, and story. She lost her father this year to aggressive stomach cancer and as she struggled with his eminent end of life, she began to understand that a moment can be a lifetime, if you know your true worth. Daniella is an artist and a student of life and feels immeasurably privileged to be included in this project.
I have a blog, where I share more of my stories with the universe: 

Katrina Gaines-Spears

Katrina is a sophomore studying Fine Art at the USC Roski Art of Design and is considering a business minor. Her artistic emphases are drawing and design. At the moment she is working primarily in graphite but loves most dry media. Her work focuses on exploring the intricacies and details of the physical world in a representational manner, questioning the boundaries of what is natural and what is imagined.

Daniella Florindez

Since before she could speak, Daniella expressed herself with poignant glances and deep hugs (ask her aunt, she'll tell you). Once she could talk she started telling stories to the wall at the dentist's office. Her family expresses love and connection through storytelling, teaching me at the dinner table, about wisdom, empathy, and heartache. At her father's knee, Daniella learned how to be an expert clown (that's a real thing). He was the funniest, most perspective man she has ever known. She currently uses that humor as a volunteer writing coach with a college access non-profit, MOSTE. Daniella is a Dahn yoga practitioner and hope to soon be a Dahn Master. It involves embracing sound, dancing, and laughter as a means to heal and be healed. The positive energy resulting from this commitment to self-realization has given her strength to pursue her dreams. Daniella is a USC Masters student in public health, 

Morgan Begg, is currently a freshman at USC and enrolled in in the Roski School of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Drawing. Art and Drawing has always been a passion of hers since she could remember. Morgan is incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to study art in such a prestigious environment. She hopes to travel after graduation experiencing all the different cultures and taking in all the different forms of art.

Mary-Kate Doherty

Mary-Kate is a sophomore at USC majoring in Communication Studies and Creative Writing.  She considers herself a New Englander from Maryland, now living in Los Angeles.  She started drawing in kindergarten and has not stopped since. Her favorite medium is oil paints, which she discovered after spending time at both MICA and the Rhode Island School of Design.  She enjoys painting landscapes of the beach and portraits of her dog--mostly just so she can give them to her number one fan, her mother.

Elizabeth Xintarianos

Elizabeth Xintarianos is a graduate student of social work at the University of Southern California, in her final year. Her area of specialization is in military social work. Elizabeth’s need, both professionally and personally, is to have a sense of being useful. Her decision to take part in the Living Canvases project, as a part of the the  Creativity & Aging Initiative, was to do just that – be useful. Elizabeth Elizabeth believes that the projects under the initiative are inspiring, moving, moving, and beautiful, and especially as a social work student, a lover of the the arts, and future social work professional, these projects speak great great volumes to her, as she believes that art  healing can take place.  According to Elizabeth, the Living Canvases project is quite special, as it allows her to “marry” the arts and social work practice together, in a way that is meaningful and purposeful. Elizabeth believes that the true purpose in life is about helping, about being agents of change, about recognizing the meaning behind actions and experiences, and about appreciating the significance in each moment lived. Thus, being a part of such a project provides Elizabeth with a means to not only recognize and acknowledge those moments lived by others, but also the opportunity to validate their experiences through art. Elizabeth is aware that aging is a process that is inevitable and one that each and every individual is involved with; from the very moment we are brought into this world, until the moment we depart. Each of us must face aging parents, aging grandparents, aging friends, aging siblings, aging spouses, and aging selves. As such, Elizabeth considers that her responsibilities lie in advocacy, spreading awareness, and in educating the public about the growing older population; it is through these routes, Elizabeth holds, that people can work toward building, improving, and strengthening relationships – with families, other social support systems, and communities.

Kafia Haile

Kafia Haile is an artist activist, with her work works featured in Firelight Foundation’s Cradles Project, a group exhibition at the 2012 International AIDS Conference (Washington, DC), and They Reminisce Over You: We Are Troy Davis (Atlanta, GA), a art show drawing attention to racial disparities in the legal system. Working primarily in acrylic on canvas, Kafia uses bold colors as a form of escape from conservative environments and a reflection of the richness of her native Atlanta. Prior to her career in the arts, Kafia spent several years as a cultural analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense where she assisted the military in cooperating with foreign tribes. She believes that storytelling through art and entertainment is the most effective way to inspire compassion and understanding, which is the first step towards creating change. Kafia is a graduate of Spelman College and The Fletcher School at Tufts University. She is completing her final semester towards a Master of Fine Arts at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Visit for a look at her work.

Cherrie Wang

Cherrie Wang is a freshman undergraduate student currently studying Computer Science in the Viterbi School of Engineering. While science and technological innovation fascinates her, she has always nurtured a great penchant for the arts. Cherrie has been painting and drawing since she first knew how to hold a pencil, and works with a with a wide range of mediums, from watercolors to oils, charcoals to ink. She loves expressing stories and themes in my artwork, and is extremely excited to participate in the Living Canvases program.

Angela Kurzulian

Angela Kurzulian is a Graduate student at the USC Davis School of Gerontology. She is pursuing a Masters in Aging Services Management and hopes to further establish her career within the Long Term Care industry.  She has two passions in her life, which are working with senior citizens and her love for the arts. She has been painting for over five years and had artwork displayed at various art shows across Los Angeles.  Angela loves to paint abstract pieces with a focus on acrylic paint, oil paint, or spray paint on canvas.

See more of Angela's work here:

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is a senior at USC from San Diego, California majoring in Health and Humanity with a specialization in the Biological Sciences module of the Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences. Aside from her extensive scientific background as a pre-veterinary student, Alyssa has always pursued her passion for the arts.  Despite the demand of her schedule, she will always find the time to experiment and explore her love for creativity whether it be through colorful abstract painting, ceramics, portrait work and more. Having taken multiple Gerontology classes, it only seems fitting that she combines a passion or two to join the Creativity and Aging program and bring light to the heterogenous and complex nature of aging.

portray through acrylic paints on canvas the fascinating life of one of the amazing participants, Carolyn.
From this experience, Grace hopes to be more conscious of the complex lives of everyone she meets, always being mindful that there is more to each of us than meets the eye. Additionally, after pondering deeply the turning points in the life of her subject, Grace hopes to be more present in her day to day activities in order to have life experiences worth telling and retelling someday. Grace will spend this summer in Madrid and fall semester in Managua and hopes to document her adventures through writing, sketching, and painting. 

Grace Carballo

Grace is a sophomore at USC from Lisle, Illinois majoring in Global Studies and Spanish. She is also pursuing a minor in Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Volunteerism and a second minor in Screenwriting. 
Grace's usual medium of creative expression is through writing, particularly comedy, short stories, and blogging, but she also enjoys painting. She wanted to give Living Canvases a try because she loves learning from those around her and hearing about people's lives. Her respect and admiration for elders in her own life, especially her grandparents and great aunt, compelled her to get involved and

Jane Kim

Jane Kim is a third year at the University of Southern California, studying Architecture and minoring in Animation. Lately, she has had several opportunities to explore mediums of animation for class, and it only made her more interested in it. In addition to that she enjoys attending figure drawing sessions provided by one of the clubs at school. After two years of architecture studio, she has been finding it hard to get back into art and drawing, but is excited to participate with the Living Canvases program and create art to an interesting prompt. As she learned from speaking to people who have worked with the animation industry, aside from drawing a lot, it is very important to try everything and new things. Since then, any opportunity that instigates her exploring a new aspect of life or drawing something outside of my comfort zone catches her interest immediately. In this new year of 2015, she hopes to achieve greater productivity, travels to new places, and create connections with more people.

This is the link to Jane's portfolio:

care for the dying. Since death is a rupture, a break in the fabric of our stories that shakes and scares us:storytelling brings shape and shadow to our humanity. It has the capacity to communicate truth at a visceral level. She is drawn to stories, inspired by the culture created and cultivated through narrative, especially within a medical context. She has always wanted to be a storybearer, dreaming about how she could create the space necessary for patients to live and die well. She has privately helped pen the stories of her patients, learning to listen and creatively convey the message of life lived uncensored. She is also the co-author of Invitation to Tears: a Guide for Grieving Well, released in May 2014. The book serves as a devotional-style reader for those that have experienced loss, providing insight on the total humanity of grief and helping guide the reader with suggested music, poetry, film, and other resources to engage their journey.
Creating has been a recurring theme in her life, whether through words, paint, fashion, or delicious food. Although she has only dabbled in the visual art world, she understands intimately that visual art is another way to give voice to the story of growing old.She is presently working as a social work intern, learning the skills that will enable her to work most seamlessly in a healthcare setting. This propels her ambition of owning and operating a small hospice house in the future. Until then, she is an adventure-seeking city dweller—and thrilled to be participating in this project.

Aubrie Hills

Aubrie Hills is a candidate in the Master of Social Work program at USC, graduating this August 2015. In 2014, she completed a Certificate of Gerontology from the USC Davis School. She also holds a Masters of Thanatology (Death, Dying and Bereavement), as well as Certification through the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Charlotte’s Web taught her the brevity of life as a little girl, and gave her the right tools to come home to the death and dying community. Her background is diverse and interdisciplinary, with undergraduate degrees in pastoral care and literature. She passionately believes that growing old dignifies our humanity, and advocates for holistic

Morgan Begg

Living Canvases