A native of Manitoba, Jo'Anne Kelly received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba, and took further studies in Ceramics and Printmaking at the Ontario College of Art.
She began her professional life as a teacher of art in the Winnipeg high school system. In the late-seventies, she retired from teaching to devote her full time to her art.
Jo'Anne has worked professionally in a number of different media. Nowadays she works in both clay and surface design, (primarily painting on silk), but also has had considerable experience in metal-smithing. She has also illustrated children's books for Hyperion Press of New York, and for many years has dyed and hand-painted costumes for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
Jo'Anne has been involved in numerous one-woman and group exhibitions and has been represented in galleries across Canada and in England. Her work is found in private and public collections in Canada, the U.S., England and Europe.
In 1985 she was nominated by the Crafts Guild of Manitoba for the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Craft, and in 1986, she was nominated by the Manitoba Crafts Council for Woman of the Year Award in Art. She received the Lieutenant-Governor's Medallion for art in 1990.
She has served as juror for the Manitoba Arts Council, for the Province of Manitoba Regional Art Exhibitions and for the Red River Exhibition Art competition.
Jo'Anne has served several terms on the Board of the Manitoba Crafts Council, including the position of president.