Michelle Hartney is a Chicago based artist whose work addresses a broad range of topics, from women’s health issues, to the concept of heroes, love, and the cosmos. She works in a variety of materials, including fiber, wood, found objects, installation, community based interactive performance, and the internet. Her interest in using art to address social issues began during her graduate studies in art therapy at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was an Albert Schweitzer Fellow.
In 2015 she became the Chicago rally coordinator for the non-profit organization Improving Birth's nationwide Labor Day rallies, and created a performance and installation at Daley Plaza called Mother’s Right, a piece about the United States’ high rates of maternal mortality, postpartum PTSD, and obstetric abuse.
Hartney founded the Women's Health Collective in 2016, an organization dedicated to utilizing creative approaches to raise awareness about women's health issues by linking artists, designers, writers, musicians, technologists, healthcare providers, and activists to work collaboratively on socially engaged, community based projects. Their first project, Kimberly Said No, collaboration with five Chicago actors, included a public performance that addressed an obstetric assault that was captured on film.
Since the 2016 election, Hartney has temporarily shifted the focus of her work away from maternal healthcare issues. She has been focusing on creating work to support the resistance, with a focus on peace and love, in addition to highlighting the misogyny, racism, and hatred embedded in Trump’s rhetoric.
The goal of her first post election project, Make America Love Again, focused attention on compassion ,and spread a message of love in an attempt to combat all of the hate that has been stirred up by Trump.
Hartney resides in Chicago with her husband and two kids. In her free time she loves playing the guitar, piano, and banjo, gardening in her hydroponic closet garden, running, meditating, doing yoga, and reading poetry.