GCC Professor’s Paintings Illustrate New Children’s Book

Heather S. Jones Joins GCC’s Recognition Matters Series

Batavia, New York - When artists of different genres come together, their combined creation inspires in new ways seldom seen at the beginning of their collaboration. Such is the case with a new exhibit opening at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery at Genesee Community College on November 12, 2019. The gallery will display a series of 52 acrylic paintings created by Professor of Fine Arts at Genesee Community College, Heather S. Jones. The paintings were created to illustrate a children’s book titled M is for Mindful, written by national award-winning journalist Robin L. Flanigan, which is being published by Good Nature Press in November as part of the exhibition.

M is for Mindful is a children’s poetry book that cultivates self-awareness, compassion, respect for diversity, and other practices that shape the way people think and act. The story is visually represented by Jones’s vibrant nature-themed paintings. The illustrations guide children through the book’s concepts, empowering young readers to attain and maintain an intentional, balanced and considerate life.

On Thursday, November 14, 2019, a special celebration will take place in the gallery and the entire community is invited to attend any and all parts of the day:

  • 12:30 p.m.        Meet Jones and Flanigan and hear them talk about their project
  • 1:00 p.m.          View the exhibit, mingle and enjoy refreshments
  • 2:30 p.m.          Robin L. Flanigan reads from M is for Mindful in the gallery  
  • 5 - 8 p.m.          Book Launch and evening reception: Purchase a copy of M is for Mindful and have it signed by both the illustrator and author to celebrate the project and inspire young and old readers alike                       

This exhibit will be on display at GCC’s Roz Steiner Gallery from November 12 –December 12, 2019. 

The artist and author met through the happy coincidence of a mutual friend in central New York, where a vibrant network of artists in all media and persuasions thrive. Jones has taught at GCC since 2008, and she is active in many creative pursuits, including but not limited to her role as collaborator with international Vida Design Studio, through which she designs clothing and products; study abroad instructor with multiple colleges; and creative director and illustrator of Good Nature Press. Through the years, she has also taught at Geneseo State University, Empire State College, as well as public schools and she was the administrative director at Camp Stella Maris. She earned her MFA from RIT and her BFA from Alfred University, and she received a SUNY Chancellor Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in 2015. Besides painting, Jones’ professional skills also involve printmaking, photography, glass blowing, metal fabrication, ceramics, textiles and organizational management. Her work can be viewed at the following online websites:

A seasoned writer with bylines covering a dynamic range of topics, Flanigan uses the name and website “The Kinetic Pen” to capture the essence of her gift as an author, observer and her 20-plus year career as a writer. Raised in Sedona, Arizona, and now settled in Rochester, New York, she earned her BA in Language and Literature from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, including one year of study at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance in Oxford, England. She honed her craft as a newsroom beat reporter for 11 years, working for the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester and The Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina. During this period of her career she earned nearly a dozen newspaper and press awards. Since 2005, Flanigan has been a freelance writer for numerous magazines, newspapers, literary magazines and marketing initiatives, including but not limited to People magazine, US Airways, Education Week, The Sun, Motherwell and Talking Writing, and her coffee table book entitled, Rochester: High Performance for 175 Years, was published in 2009. Among her many topics are personal profiles, education, healthcare, business, home trends, beauty, fashion and family life. M is for Mindful is her first children’s book.

The book project is an excellent illustration of how artistry and creativity cross into different media, and when combined the result is truly an enterprising opportunity that inspires in ways that may not be as available singularly. “I am excited to show my students how the fine arts and painting can create opportunities to be  entrepreneurial impacting not only their careers, but also inspiring an audience in ways far beyond the original canvas or exhibit,” Jones said. “This project and the exhibit illustrate how careers in creativity can take an artist in all kinds of directions as long as they remain open, receptive and flexible in their life’s journey.”   

Jones’s talent and hard work in creating these paintings and contributing to M is Mindful have earned her a place in GCC’s Recognition Matters series, which highlights the accomplishments of the College’s faculty, staff and students. Officials at GCC have embraced this series as a way to acknowledge not only the achievement, but the high quality of the recognized individuals who demonstrate GCC’s “beyond expectations” brand.

The Roz Steiner Art Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays – Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is also open during special events as published at www.genesee.edu/campuslife/arts. Admission is free.

For more information, contact Gallery Coordinator Mary Jo Whitman at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6490, or via email: mjwhitman@genesee.edu.

For more information, contact Marketing Communications Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: dsutherland@genesee.edu.


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Editor’s Note:

A book jacket for M is for Mindful is available here:


A photograph of Professor of Fine Arts at Genesee Community College, Heather Jones, courtesy of GCC, is available at: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/HeatherJones2019.jpg

A photograph of author Robin L. Flanigan is available at: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/Robin_Flanigan_Author.jpg

GCC’s Recognition Matters logo is available at: