BFA Founder


Julie Taylor Shematz is an energetic and enthusiastic individual who loves to encourage others with hope and truth.  Passionate about intimacy with God and inspiring others to fulfill their destinies, Julie has a powerful testimony of beauty from ashes. Growing up fatherless, she has overcome sexual & domestic abuse, rejection, abandonment, depression, addictions, homelessness, and human trafficking victimization. Personally and professionally, Julie has dedicated herself to raising awareness about human trafficking and the development of prevention, intervention and restoration programs.  From her greatest pain has emerged her most profound personal mission in life.

In 2005, she founded of Beauty from Ashes Ministries, Inc., a 501(c)(3), not for profit, faith-based public charity dedicated to reaching & assisting women and children involved in and/or associated with the sex industry; commercialized sexual exploitation, trafficking and adult entertainment.  Julie has over 20 years experience working with victims of this populace and is recognized as an expert nationally for survivor-centered program development and outREACH strategies that include going into adult entertainment establishments, porn expos and street outreaches.  

In 2013, after graduating, with honors, from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, she accepted the Director of Social Services position at The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command, where she developed The Salvation Army's first approved anti-human trafficking program in the state of Florida. Her responsibilities included oversight of eight programs with over 230 residential beds (emergency shelter for men and women, men's transitional, single women and single women with children transitional housing, anti-human trafficking emergency shelter for adult women, veteran's, recuperative care, and homeless prevention/family services).  

Mrs. Shematz, M.A., is a licensed minister, professional artist, and educator that holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University/Herron School of Art.  She studied as a Dean’s List student at Purdue University as a triple major in Art Education K-12, Fine Arts, and Visual Communication Design.  She ran on their women’s track team and still holds records set over 20 years ago. She also coached varsity track and swimming for 6 years in Lafayette, IN.  Additionally, she was a licensed hair, nail and makeup specialist for 9 years.  Her experience and work with all ages, socioeconomic classes and professions is extensive.  A native of Indiana, she relocated to Fort Myers, FL in 2002, where she met and married her husband, Steve, in 2003.  In 2014, they relocated to the Tampa Bay Area.  They have no natural children, but several spiritually adopted, six horses, and four dogs.

100% of the proceeds from Julie's artwork go to reach, rescue and restore victims of commercialized sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.