Photographer; Storyteller; Visual Artist
As a photo documentarian, I consider myself a social barometer – always gaging the current climate around me and taking responsibility for effective delivery. My photo documentary work has involved extremely sensitive material such as breast cancer and homelessness; and most recently, it has addressed domestic violence, addiction and human trafficking, so educating the public and raising awareness is paramount. These projects deliver fact and truth; re-imagine the system, and offer practical solutions and valuable strategies for progress and change.
Aside from the COVID-19 global lockdown, the past 5 years or so have been particularly difficult for me personally. Firstly, I am female, with English not being my first language; of mixed cultures and family background; a former law enforcement officer, and now over the age of 55 (considered a senior citizen).
I stopped working for about 3 years to care for my mother and when she passed, I was finally able to secure part time work which fortunately prevented me from losing my home. Then, within a year, the unexpected Pandemic hit that led to a lay-off. I did not receive any unemployment benefits until almost 7 months later; again, creating financial panic. Luckily, I was able to find part time work shortly before the holidays that now has transitioned into a fulltime position. Not necessarily in my field; however, I am surviving. Faith, family and art is in my blood. Throughout the years and all of my careers, my passion has always been, and remains, the creative arts. I strongly believe in the power of art; it can cross boundaries, heal, inspire, and create hope and possibilities for everyone. I often incorporate the visual arts, writing and music with my counseling practice to build confidence and encourage creativity.
An artist as an activist is perhaps the most misunderstood and underestimated movement in culture today. Messaging is meant to be informative and may not always be pleasant for every viewer. These voices can often be difficult to hear … nevertheless, they are necessary visual metaphors for interpretation. And so, to address these issues artistically is surely a challenge, yet a rewarding task.
Susan Buzzi is the sum of many parts. She is passionate for the arts and education; an earth guardian; admirer of diversity and civility; and a staunch activist for the law and victims. She is an artist, educator, healing arts facilitator, certified coach practitioner, and longtime child/women’s/victim advocate.
A graduate of Saint Thomas University; Florida Atlantic University; she attended Du Cret School of the Arts; Art Students League in N.Y.; received an Artist Residency with Atlantic Center for the Arts; funding from City of Tamarac; Saint Thomas University School of Law; Broward Health; Susan G. Komen for the Cure; as well as 2 previous Broward County Individual Artist Grants.
Buzzi’s award-winning work has been exhibited in national and international forums and is included in numerous corporate and private collections throughout the U.S. She has been recognized for her volunteer efforts, dedication and vision in the not-for-profit cultural arts arena. Her candid documentary work has brought light to sensitive issues such as at-risk youth and violence prevention and homelessness. She is past President and active member of the Fort Lauderdale branch of the National League of American Pen Women and Vice Chair of the Broward County Commission on the Status of Women.
A former law enforcement officer, her counseling practice concentrates primarily on rehabilitation and recovery and creating new paths for mindfulness and wellness through the arts. Her sessions address grief and loss; addiction; depression; and violence; as well as healing arts for victims of crime and those incarcerated. For the last 15 years, she has been a visiting artist for Broward County Libraries Division; Memorial Health Care System; Holy Cross Hospital; hospice and juvenile assessment/detention facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties; as well as an independent consultant with local police departments and behavioral health agencies.
After nearly 14 years of working on several breast cancer survivor photo documentaries and publishing 2 books, as well as 18+ exhibitions and lectures on human trafficking and domestic servitude, a personal event altered her entire direction and she now concentrates on domestic violence, abuse and women’s wellness. Her art and practice is completely focused on recovery and renewal for victims. The use of expressive therapies has produced extraordinary results and she has been involved with extensive research for the past several years.
With the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the unpleasant conversation has once again risen to the surface and demands attention. The effects have affected every facet of our lives: education; economy; government; crime; employment; housing and the mental health and well-being of our children; teens; seniors and veterans. Recently published by Middle River Press, her manuscript “Looking Back … Moving Forward” is included in a collective entitled, “The COVID Chronicles”, due out this October. Her personal account reveals several distinct areas explored during the shutdown which reinforce positivity and overcoming adversity, fear, depression and anger. Her manuscript Artful Ways was also published in The Light Between Us: True Stories of Healing Through Creative Expression by Pen Women Press. Her work with the City of Tamarac includes: Arts Education & Enrichment Programming with 2019 Teen Summer Camp; Public Art funded projects such as: “Healing Through Art for Veterans” and “In Focus” a 2-month Photography Program with Millennium Collegiate Academy. The City hosted a Lecture/Book Signing in October 2017 for her book profiling breast cancer survivors and stories entitled, “Courage, Strength & Resilience” and inducted her into the Women’s History Month Hall of Fame, 2018.
She has developed and administered literary/arts-based programming for over a decade with the Broward County Libraries Division; Book Arts Programming in conjunction with The National Endowment for the Humanities; and The American Library Association with PBS-WPBT2 The Big Read in October of 2018.
She has lectured for Broward College Public Safety Institute on Domestic Violence Awareness and Healing; and commissioned to create a series of framed posters addressing human trafficking and domestic servitude entitled “Responsibility & Justice”.
A contributor to The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy at St. Thomas University School of Law for the past 7 years, she has designed approximately 85 art works for the permanent collection of the Human Rights Department. Presentations in 2020 include the Miami Gardens City Commission, Miami Gardens Police Department and the Broward County Commission.
Buzzi was recently recognized and awarded an Honorary Membership with Alpha Phi Sigma - National Criminal Justice Honor Society Miami Chapter - through St. Thomas University; and also received an Individual Artist Achievement Award with the National League of American Pen Women.