Susan TancerSusan Tancer was the one in the family who was always asked to make the birthday cards with drawings and poems for relatives. “I always sought the creative in everything,” said Tancer, a Palm Beach County native.

She paints everything from large canvasses to bags – her professional line includes an artistic collection of totes, clutches, backpacks, and, a line of clay and metal chokers she describes  as, ‘fun and funky.’ Her best-sellers can be found at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County’s Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store in downtown Lake Worth. “The Council is a great venue as many out-of –towners and culturally savvy women visit the store,” Tancer said.

“I have always been drawn to art,” she said, sharing that as a child she took drawing and painting classes at the Norton Museum of Art. After attending college at Tulane in New Orleans, where she adds, “I got a taste for love of jazzy art,” she moved back to Palm Beach County and stayed. Tancer enjoyed a good career in marketing, public relations, and special events, but longed for the creative side of the projects.

“I really loved (those) like designing brochures, ads, decorating ballrooms and putting together creative marketing plans,” she said.

A little over eight years ago, Tancer was diagnosed with stage three brain cancer. Now cancer-free, she had endured painstaking chemotherapy treatments for two years at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. “During that time, all I wanted to do was paint,” she said. “We had recently moved to a new home, so I painted large canvasses for every room.”

When she painted enough canvasses to fill every wall in her new home, an idea came to mind. “I was painting for therapy and had a desire to give back to the place that saved my life,” she said. “I wanted to spread the word about M.D. Anderson and donate money from my proceeds to the Brain and Spine Center for research…Now, when I paint and sell, I am more motivated knowing I am doing it for a purpose.”

“It never feels like work,” she added. “It took me almost 50 years to discover what I really wanted to do with my life!”

Find original works by Susan Tancer at the Cultural Council’s Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store, Salon Mikimoto and the gift shop at John D. MacArthur State Park gift shop.