Ellie Balk was born in 1976 in St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Bowling Green State University with a BFA in Painting and received her MFA from Pratt Institute in 2005 where she focused on painting and collaboration. Her mission is use paint as a tool to bring community together and she is currently painting murals in Brooklyn through residencies from BRIC’s Rotunda Gallery and with grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, NYSCA, Puffin Foundation and others. With the theme of connection, she has helped students and communities explore their place and function in their neighborhoods. She is the Executive Director of South of the Navy Yard Artists (SONYA).