Julia Kellman grew up in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst and graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1968 with a BA in English Literature. She received an MA in Painting at The University of Iowa, Iowa City in 1979, and a PhD in Art Education at the University of Iowa, Iowa City in 1991. She is Associate Professor Emerita of Art Education in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a former Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Her research focused on the use of art in personal and social healing and the place of personal narrative in those processes. She has authored articles on art and autism and the book, Autism, Art, and Children: the Stories We Draw. She edited Understanding Students with Autism through Art with Beverly Gerber. She has been involved with the Y since she was an undergraduate and continues to live in Urbana with her husband.