Julia Schmitt Healy was born in Elmhurst, Illinois and received a BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied with Ray Yoshida and Whitney Halsted. She did her academic requirements at the University of Chicago and won a Fellowship to Yale University Summer School of Music and Art her junior year, where she studied with Mel Bochner, Robert Mangold and Bob Moskowtiz. During her master's degree work, she was the Graduate Assistant in Painting and Drawing, which included teaching drawing and painting to undergraduates at the school.

After graduation, Healy moved to Africa, where she traveled and lived. She later toured Europe and then lived in Nova Scotia, Canada with her first husband, Richard. Presently she divides her time between a Manhattan apartment in the East Village and a house/studio in Port Jervis, New York.

Her work was represented for many years by Phyliis Kind Gallery in New York and Chicago, as well as Susan Whitney Gallery in Canada. While in school, she co-curated a Mail Art Show with artist Ray Johnson, called "Intercourse," at the Wabash Transit Gallery. Currently, she has an independent agent, and schedules studio visits by appointment. Her work has been exhibited in Europe, Canada, the United States and Japan and is in numerous public and private collections. In fact, one of her large pieces is in the Queen's Bedroom in Ottawa, Canada, as part of the Canada Council Art Bank. Healy has received many grants and commissions and is currently creating proposals for some large-scale sculptures to be made up in the country.

Coming out of the Chicago Imagist tradition, she explores images and iconography from the news, religions, mass media and her travels. Her work focuses on themes ranging from ecological disaster, human relationships, symbols, feminism, consumerism and the natural world. She works in many media and sometimes jokes that her output can look like a "group show.!"

Healy teaches at Queensborough/CUNY, as well as privately, upstate at Art Studio On Main, her studio/home.