Kim Vanderheiden painting
Kim Vanderheiden painting Bill & June for the Tenderly Project in 2021

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I explore the connection between justice and relationship through art, writing and community action. My visual art, including drawings, painting, & printmaking, is often a form of meditation or contemplative prayer. I’ve found that even working at the letterpress has its own way of teaching mindfulness. My writing includes articles, meditations, and prayers and often reflects on justice, connection, brokenness, and restoration. My community action promotes restorative justice and nonviolence practices. Two key projects include support and advocacy for people experiencing homelessness through East Bay Homebridge Connect, and teaching the breadth, depth, and pragmatics of love as the foundation of justice through the website and podcast series, Justice Conversation.

I was raised Catholic until the time of my First Communion, and thereafter didn’t participate regularly until in my thirties. During that gap, my spiritual interests were fed by art and writing from my own and other cultures. I have always been drawn to languages, traditions, and stories from all parts of the world. Dreams, myths, and symbols have also long shaped my work.

At age thirty-nine, I experienced a year of ongoing and overwhelming spiritual experiences, which I needed a great deal of growth and help to attempt to process and accept. I began to mine deeply into my Catholic heritage, including writings about mystical experiences, theology, history, and institutional workings, all to regain my balance from a year that left me stunned and disoriented.

My experiences were Christ-centered and I continue to work from Catholic spirituality as my base, though with a critical awareness of the harm enacted by the institution of the Catholic Church throughout history and in present time. I respect greatly the wisdom, mysticism, and expression of other faiths as well. I feel that across the world our understandings are interwoven, and that we all need each other. It’s important for us to reconnect with ourselves and each other as beings of body, mind, and spirit.

We often suppress the Spirit in public settings, or even privately within ourselves. Often we don’t know how to openly live our spiritual selves while also respecting that of others around us. But we will need all of our selves, our wholeness, to live in a world of justice and peace. And so part of my work is to reconnect this for myself, to learn to live it openly, and hopefully in so doing, encourage others to do the same.






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