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Behind the Artist

“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.”  -Albert Einstein


Sara Steil Shuster is an artist, writer, and designer with perceptive eyes, a sensitive heart, and a creative mind. She approaches the world with the belief that although the details of our circumstances may differ, we are more alike than different.

She finds meaning and significance in her everyday experiences and creates art that conveys our shared commonalities.

In a story she did not know she would tell, Sara seeks to inspire, encourage, and connect others through her art and words. 

Behind the Heart


These are the words we chose for the program cover for our 18-year-old son's funeral. It was a phrase written to us in the days after his death by friends who had also lost their son. They are words that resonated then and continue to carry us through today.

At the time, we had no idea how the story of hearts would unfold. Hearts, the clichéd and obvious symbol of love, began appearing and I noticed them in important ways that only made sense to me. I documented the hearts with my phone so I could share the experience with others and encourage them to feel the love and connection I felt in the moment of discovery.

The practice of gratitude began and was incorporated into my photographic journal representing connection with my son. The images are as found. Not staged, raw, and not edited. Not perfect, but as they are. After seeing the collection of images as a whole, I began to think about how the hearts have sustained us, along with support from friends, family, and our faith. It’s through this realization that Stand with Heart was formed. I’m thankful we meet, and that I can share the hearts with you.

Beyond the Heart


Find. Stand. Thank. Share.

Find your heart: Look, notice, seek, and be open to the hearts you’ll find in the world. They are everywhere….practice finding them and you’ll notice them all around you.

Stand with it:  Once found, acknowledge where you are in the moment.  Upon discovery, I take time to stand with my feet in the heart as I take the photograph- to feel grounded in the discovery and be present with what is real right now.  Without judgement, just what is. This reminds me of my mother who said as she endured cancer, “it is what it is."

Thank it:  The hardest, yet easiest part of the practice.  I ask myself what I am grateful for in that moment and note that there is always a place for gratitude. It is a life altering thought process.

Share it: I see the hearts as a bridge between two worlds, and they have allowed me to remain connected to both my son, and others around me. The world is better when we are connected, so share your heart today with us using #standwithheart and with those around you.