We had the good fortune of connecting with Kay Kiria and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kay, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
Living out a significant life filled with purpose, passion and balance creates my defined success. Establishing meaningful work that touches the hearts and souls of others is a calling for me. Knowing my paintings and poetry enrich the lives of my collectors, art lovers and the one stranger who is left with an inspired experience is gratifying to my heart. As an artist and art instructor, my intention is to leave a lasting memory and engrave an impact in other people’s lives. This desire pours from my personal and spiritual life.

Having a relationship with God builds significance and is the center of the love, forgiveness, adventure and joy I experience. The sacred hours I dream with God, believe, even when struggles are present and surrender to this precious trust makes me and all parts of my life whole. The freedom of being wholeheartedly authentic in my creativity as a painter and poet, who I am as a person, my spiritual life with God and in my life relationships with others encourages a defined and successful life. The final resolve and how I approach each step is with gratitude and knowing that success does not define me or who I am, it is a blend of all the details I define.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally? Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.
Moving hearts and souls for over 20 years has been a calling for me. Establishing meaningful paintings and poetry to enrich the lives of my collectors, art lovers and the one stranger who is left with an inspired experience is gratifying to my heart. After all these years, my work remains authentic and I devote all of myself to it. As an artist and art instructor, my intention is to leave a lasting memory and engrave an impact in other people’s lives. This desire pours from my personal and spiritual life to bring something significant to others through what I was born to do.

I paint and write to testify a heart pilgrimage of faith, healing, soulful emotions, ideas and life experiences. Canvas, wood panel and paper are the sacred grounds I freely roam. I mainly paint on square surfaces because it carries an eternal shape within bridging a universal connection anyone can relate to. The rectangle surfaces I paint on carry an individual shape offering a personal yet not alone connection. The sizes of these works evoke an impression while welcoming intimate discoveries. As a painter, my in the moment process brings to life action in my work encouraging meaningful layers of texture and transparencies while being moved by vibrant and serene colors. As a poet, I am a witness writing about the blend of my life experiences. My freestyle writing within the traditional cadence of poetry is the trademark carried through my confessional, spiritual, nature and ethereal themes. Music, sounds of nature and silence are part of my inspired methods in the studio.

Presently, one of the ways I contribute my craft is writing poetry for the Weston Art Guild’s online quarterly newsletter, and as a poet, I have been called upon for readings of my inspirational works for celebrations of pivotal life events.

When paintings and poems exhibit from my collection of original works, these opportunities bring to life the bonds of my inspirations for an up close and personal encounter. Public speaking at Artist Talk events gives visitors from the community insight to the heartfelt stories and techniques behind my work and encourages an engaging atmosphere as in my recent three women exhibit, “Blended HeArts” with Lynda Sauls, and Lisa Botto Lee.

Last year my work was accepted into the juried 2019 DBA TEXTURED Exhibit at ArtServe Gallery and my paintings, “The Sacred Prayer” and “Evensong” were published in their art book for the exhibit. First time I had my paintings published in an art book! And that was very exciting!

How did you get to where you are today professionally.
As a lifelong artist and poet, I have been on the South Florida cultural scene since 1997, exhibiting in galleries and exhibitions from the Keys to Boca Raton. My work resides in private collections internationally and have appeared in the press consistently throughout my career as artist, teacher and involvement in community art projects. My abstract surreal paintings have been featured in local and online media magazines, interviewed by VoyageMIA online Magazine and in social media by television program, PBS’ Art Loft FL. My work has also gained national and international exposure appearing on the front cover of the ‘Short Stories’ guitar instrumental album by my husband, local renowned acoustic guitarist Peter Betan.

Each step taken on this road leads to notable events. Developing genuine relationships with art groups, artists and art professionals mentioned in my shoutout in this article creates the avenue to destinations along the way. They have all played a significant part to my steps and happenings along with the freelance work I have done. Creating a strong presence with social media on Instagram and Facebook has brought positive attention from other groups sharing my posts and giving me social media support.

Connections happen from people I know inside and outside the arts. Among other opportunities I advanced with, art instruction entered my path without looking for it. The most rewarding part of teaching is the significant bond that develops from each private, group and workshop class. These are the times I celebrate the art of sharing the heart and skill of my knowledge and experience with those who entrust their learning to me.

Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
Challenges are going to show up and life does not lend itself to easy. Some challenges are a gift and some are tougher than others. Praying first, taking a step back to observe and take it all in, and consulting with others I trust are the approaches I practice. I’ve learned that each step and experience prepares me for the next one. Staying faithful to the course opens the opportunity to beat to the rhythm of my drum; and when the unexpected comes and I am required to move in the moment, I rely on the grace of God and the remembrance of what I learned before was meant to take place right there and then and to just do it.

What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
As I mentioned above, I paint and write to testify a heart pilgrimage of faith, healing, soulful emotions, ideas and life experiences. Coming from a background of domestic violence, the arts and time with God were always healing for me. As a result, the ethereal has been ever present with the natural since I was young and both influence my creativity to this day. All the bad and ugliness that has happened, God uses it for good and beauty.

My paintings and poems are a poured offering of the sacred hours I dream with God, believe and build from within. Whispers that dwell deep are brought forth to a heartfelt surface. Drawing our attention away from the physical into the spiritual heart and light is the driving force behind my lifelong passion and devotion towards my work. Oil, acrylic, texture, gels, mixed media, tools, subliminal imagery and my penned poems in journals are the creative instruments I use to orchestrate works of imagination, closeness, honesty and hope.

Three of the consistent responses to my work are about its movement, color and thought provoking imagery. Each painting and poem is one of a kind and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. Paintings are gallery wrapped, ready for hanging and painted on all sides to establish a complete creative thought enhancing your viewing experience. My signature is known to be integrated into selective paintings from my collections.

Read all about it in ‘Brush & Pen’, my free newsletter! I invite you to sign up on my website below and get the scoop on my “happenings” in and outside the studio only seen in my newsletters, messages from the heart, blogs and invitations to exhibits, events and workshops coming up. In the meantime, you can read my inspired writings on my Blog Page, past issues on my Newsletter Page and selected poems on my Poetry Page from my website.

I welcome opportunities for commissions, exhibits, art demonstrations, artist talks, group and private workshops as well as live painting for both public and private events. For more information, email me at artbykiria@gmail.com or visit artbykiria.com

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
When visitors come for a week, let’s face it, they have other family and friends to spend time with. So I’m going to give you the low down on the one day I get to visit with them. Where I would take them to make it a memorable vacation is Wynwood in Miami! First stop would be right outside the Wynwood area in Allapattah at the art community, The Collective to visit Jolt Radio where locals, Petey B and CL Cool record their show, The Music Vault 60’s and Beyond! Then go visit galleries like, The Bonnier Gallery and artists such as, Mark Diamond. After puttering around there for a while, it’s off to Wynwood for an early lunch at The Taco Stand for one of the best tacos and burritos you’ll ever have! Local character and regulars add to the urban vibe of the area. A happy detour to Zak the Baker for phenomenal kosher desserts and coffee!! Vacation is not the time to worry about your waist line folks! And here you encounter families and professionals from the neighborhood chilling out or buying their favorite fresh desserts and breads for the home. I’ll take three of everything please! Now that we are delightfully full from eating our hearts out, it’s time to go check out the local art at no other than The Wynwood Walls!!! Riveting murals here are a feast for the eyes and it is never the same. So when we show up, it’s definitely what is on exhibition at the time. And since we are at The Walls, the lure of Goldman Global Arts Gallery right there on the grounds must be answered. Visitors from everywhere come here for the heart of the Wynwood experience. Another great place to meet interesting people! Nomad Tribe Clothing and Pitusa are charming boutiques to visit and shop. If you are looking for music, take the side streets to a small gem of character, Lucky Records. Everywhere we walk all kinds of murals and artwork grace the cafes, shops and galleries we can also take our pick to visit. Everywhere we go, people are welcoming and genuinely kind. A great place to visit the arts scene and grab a taste of the Wynwood life! Bring your camera!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Wow! Get ready, because there are a lot of people I want to celebrate and pay it forward to! I did not get to where I am today by myself. First is my devoted husband and local renowned acoustic guitarist, Peter Betan, who has loved and encouraged me for over 30 years and inspires me to be a better person, artist and spiritual being. It is a comfort and adventure to share deep intimacy with someone you grow with. Experiencing his path as a musician has inspired me from early on to to be a visual arts professional.

Family and the lifelong friends who share in your joys, hardships and memories. The ones who stick by through the years. My twin sister, Sophia Molfetas, Musical Theatre Performer, Nadia Earl, Plein Air Fine Artist and Art Educator, Laurence Dubey, GM of Nobu Hotel in Barcelona, Spain, Julie Otero, English Literature, Psychology and Vista Color Production Coordinator, Nicola Sant, Illustrator, Csilla Simon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Yolanda Perez, Flight Attendant.

The Redeemer’s Place, a church being planted this year by Pastor Joe and Cathy Guynes from The Local Church! A big shout out to them and our Wednesday Bible Study group who have supported me through prayer, friendship and being present at my art exhibits and events. I have an entire village to thank! You all know who you are!

Throughout my career, I established sincere bonds with exceptional artists, establishments, groups and galleries which provide opportunities in the arts and community and has had a strong impact and influence on me and my life as an artist. ArtServe, Miami Art League, National League of American Pen Women, One Ear Society, Plantation Art Guild, South Florida Writer’s Association, Weston Art Guild, Cafe Tu Tu Tango, City of Sunrise Civic Center Gallery, Fine Art Exchange Network, Gilded Hand Gallery, Hilary’s Framing Gallery, Studio 18 in the Pines Gallery, and Wallflower Gallery.

After coming back on the exhibiting scene four years ago, it all started with Weston Art Guild’s president, artist Lynda Sauls, who opened the doors for me to meet wonderful artists and art professionals such as: Michael Edelberg, a remarkable curator I have had the privilege to work with and founder of Fine Art Exchange Network. Lisa Botto Lee, Portrait, Figurative and Wildlife Fine Artist, JoAnn Heyer, Fine Artist and Patron of the Arts, Lois Perdue, Abstract Fine Artist and Journalist. Along with Lynda Sauls, Oil and Encaustic Fine Artist,Writer and Poet, these ladies have been instrumental in my creative, professional and personal life.

Local poets and writers to check out!: Rita Fidler Dorn, Tere Starr, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Dr. Billy Jones, and Steve Liebowitz.

On Instagram: Art Lofts FL, Art Lovers Magazine, and Community of Christian Creatives Magazine.

The 12 years I worked with the elderly, their families and staff at Miami Jewish Health with their Independent Living, Assistant Living and Special Care Alzheimer’s residents. MJH provided unique avenues for me to bring into service a wide range of strengths, gain profound knowledge and develop memorable relationships I carry with me to this day.

And saving the best for last, my deep relationship with God which is the strength, inspiration and hope in my life. If not for God, I would not be alive today and to Him I owe all gratitude and praise! The Holy Scriptures is the book of all the books I have read that is alive and constant in my everyday. A true Light to my path.

Website: www.artbykiria.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/kay.kiria
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kay.kiria

Image Credits
Multi Media Quantum Digital Printing, Pro Lab of Pompano, Lisa Botto Lee, Kenny Griffin, Yolanda Perez, Anabel Rub Peicher