Mrs. Karen Pence
As Second Lady of the United States, Karen Pence works to bring attention to issues facing children and families by shining the spotlight on the mental health profession of art therapy. Art therapy is facilitated by art therapists who use art media as a method of treatment for people experiencing developmental, medical, educational, and social or psychological impairment. Those who benefit from art therapy include individuals who have survived trauma resulting from combat, abuse, and natural disaster; people with adverse physical health conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, and other health disability; and individuals with autism, dementia, depression, and other disorders.
Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, is a mother, educator, and award-winning watercolor artist. As Second Lady of the United States, Mrs. Pence works to bring attention to art therapy and to the sacrifices made by military service members and their families.
Mrs. Pence dedicated 25 years in the classroom as an elementary school teacher before becoming the First Lady of Indiana in 2013. In her role as First Lady of Indiana, Mrs. Pence created the Indiana First Lady’s Charitable Foundation, a 501 (c) 3, established with the purpose to encourage and support youth and families of Indiana. The Foundation’s board awarded over $600,000 in grants to charities throughout Indiana in three years.
As Second Lady of the United States, Mrs. Pence is committed to raising awareness and educating the public about the mental health profession of art therapy in the United States and around the world. She has observed art therapy programs in Canada, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Indonesia, Australia, South Korea, and across the United States.
Mrs. Pence is the honorary chair of the Art Therapy Initiative at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis and is a member of Riley Children’s Foundation. She also serves as a board member for Tracy’s Kids, an art therapy program for young cancer patients.
In February 2017, Tracy’s Kids honored Mrs. Pence with the Courage Award for her support of art therapy programs across the United States and world. Children’s National Health System also recognized Mrs. Pence for her support of art therapy and presented the Second Lady with the Hero Award in February 2017. In March 2017, Mrs. Pence received the Sister Cities International Diplomatic Leadership Award for her exceptional support of Sister Cities International mission: to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation—one individual, one community at a time. In July 2017, Sister Cities International appointed Mrs. Pence to serve as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman for Sister Cities International.
In October 2017, Mrs. Pence launched her art therapy initiative, Healing with the HeART. She wants to elevate the profession so that people understand that art therapy is a mental health profession, and not arts and crafts; to help people understand that art therapy is an option for various conditions, illnesses, and life experiences; and to encourage young people to go into the profession. To learn more, read why Mrs. Pence chose this initiative here, and watch her video here.
Mrs. Pence also serves as an encourager to military service members and their families. She has hosted and participated in numerous events to honor and recognize of all of those in the Armed Forces.
Mrs. Pence earned a B.S. and M.S. in Elementary Education from Butler University in Indianapolis. She is a Blue Star mom with a son in the United States Marine Corps. Mrs. Pence and Vice President Mike Pence have been married since 1985 and are proud parents of their adult children, Michael and his wife Sarah, and daughters Charlotte and Audrey.
If you would like to invite Mrs. Pence to attend or speak at an event, please send the request to SLOTUSScheduling@ovp.eop.gov.
Follow Mrs. Pence on Twitter at @SecondLady.