Kateri: An Artist Rising Above Poverty

Meet someone new Monday!

“I want to see the beauty in everyone because everybody has something to offer.” Wise words from my new friend Kateri, a 65 year old woman who has experience more than I could ever imagine and is changing the world with her art.


This wonderful, incredibly strong lady has experienced sexual abuse, drug abuse and homelessness. She does not let her past define her, her positive outlook on life inspires me. Throughout Kateri’s journey her art and faith have always been stable aspects of life. Kateri expressed that these two elements go hand in hand for her. Art is a spiritual experience, allowing her to use her God given gift to create something of her own.

About two years ago Kateri met Nicole, founder of Poverty & The Arts. Poverty & The Arts is a Nashville non-profit dedicated to encourage creativity in the homeless community. At the time Kateri was living in a tent and Nicole was a positive mentor for Kateri. Poverty & The Arts opened up new doors for Kateri, allowing her to share her artistic gift with others. She finally felt a sense of community and encouraged by others believing in her and her art. Kateri uses bright, bold colors in her art because she wants to create beauty and good feelings for others. She is a hardworking artist and hopes to own her own studio one day.

About a year and a half ago, a few local non-profits helped Kateri move into an apartment. During Kateri’s journey she had lost touch with her family. Recently, Kateri was also able to fly to Denver to visit her mother and daughter.

As Kateri shared her story with me I learned about her continuous passion for art and history. I decided to treat her to a tour of the Belmont mansion. We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon together and she was incredibly grateful for the experience. My afternoon with Kateri remined me of a few important lessons I want to share.

  • I want to encourage you to get to know those who come from a completely different background than you. You never know what you might learn from somebody with different life experiences. And you just might make a new friend.
  • Be grateful for what you have. Appreciate your loved ones, the roof over your head, the food on the table, and the gifts you have.
  • Never take a day for granted. Make the most of each day God gives you.

This amazing woman taught me quite a bit. I am moved by her story and positive outlook on life. I am excited to watch as she continues to inspire others. Check out Kateri’s art below.