TaNiah McQueen has always been a care-giver since she was a girl. She remembers taking care of family pets and always being interested in medical equipment.
More recently, as a second-year nursing student, her care extended to larger groups; she gave about 50 covid-19 vaccines to individuals at TCF Center in downtown Detroit and on another day, in a nursing home.
She’s always loves to create art, and especially art that feels natural and beautiful such as trees or flowers. TaNiah joined Mint Artists Guild’s first Learn and Earn program while attending Cass Technical High School. She was in the same initial cohort as alumni Ackeem Salmon.
She created many florals, including a large painting overflowing with roses. It became Roses roses, one of our best-selling greeting cards. Then TaNiah donated the original painting to Mint in appreciation for all she gained and learned with us. She participated in several art fairs, selling paintings, jewelry and more. And as a Mint Alumni, her work appeared in the Secret Garden at the Belle Isle Art Fair and in some holiday pop ups.
Yet her career path headed straight toward nursing, and her caring for others through sickness. She pursued it with dedication at Wayne State University. She has worked at local hospitals and volunteered last fall to give flu shots at the Wayne State’s Campus Medical Clinic.
At TCF, she joined a group of nursing students who helped out for two days. Some people came in and were frightened to take the vaccine. “Don’t worry. I’m a pro at this,” TaNiah told them.
Getting into nursing school wasn’t easy but TaNiah persevered. And as she did, the art she created started to reflect her study of human anatomy and the body. She painted beautiful human hearts and lungs after an anatomy class helped her draw them more precisely.
“The human body really is art too,” TaNiah told us. “The body, nature and life itself is where a lot of my inspiration comes from.”
She sees science and art as “very much connected” as art imitates life and reflects its nuances.
This summer, she will work in a pediatric clinic, travel and spend more time on art making. (She recently started experimenting in resins.) After graduation, expects to work in a hospital as an intensive care unit nurse, or perhaps in a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. She plans to go back for her doctoral degree, focused on the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice. And yes, she expects to continue making art.
Some day, her work may hang in a hospital’s halls and help a visitor de-stress, as TaNiah McQueen scrubs in to save a patient.
Advice: “Stay focused. … Don’t be afraid try out new techniques … so you can determine what you like/don’t like, and never undervalue your artwork. Also, it’s imperative to join groups such as Mint to gain experience selling your art while also making meaningful connections.”
What’s next: TaNiah plans to open an Etsy shop to sell resin work, bookmarks and other items. Also her final year Wayne State’s nursing program.