Art and Creativity When Words Aren’t Enough
Because words alone aren’t often adequate for teens with fears around coming out or fitting in, John Gascot has founded The LGBTQ Expressive Arts Program among other progressive youth arts workshops at the Pinellas Arts Village.
Currently in progress, the free five-week art workshop has approximately 10 LGBTQ+ students to date meeting for a one-hour-session once a week at the Studios at 5663.
John Gascot — a Latin-influenced pop artist and recent recipient of a St. Petersburg Arts Alliance project award for his proposed Mosaic Multicultural Youth Expressive Arts Program — and Sara Norine James, instructor from NOMAD Art Bus, have partnered up to provide guidance in creating stylized self-portraits. All creative decisions are up to the students, and the workshop lasts four weeks.
An exhibit and opening reception that will display and celebrate the completion of the participants’ works will be held on the fifth week at COVE, where artist Derek Donnelly and Public Art Project will provide gallery space.
Creative Pinellas caught up with Gascot after the workshop’s second session, which Gascot said went “really well.”
“Some of the kids are already in execution mode, getting paint on their canvases, and other materials,” he said. “Two are still in prep mode but will begin execution at our next session. Those have ‘homework’ between now and then. The pieces will vary from painting to mixed media and even include photography. We have a great mix of talented kids from various backgrounds and levels of experience.”
All materials, instruction and guidance as well as an artist reception are provided free of charge.
“Listening to their interactions during the creative process, I have become aware that some of the participants of this workshop come from schools where there is a less than kind attitude towards LGBTQ students,” Gascot said. “They share and work through stories of bullying, finding strength and acceptance and support in each other.”
The project aims at facilitating free expression, confidence and self-esteem, Gascot adds. “The workshops provide a safe environment for creative social interaction and sharing.”
Public support will help provide materials like canvas, papers, paints, brushes and more.
Gallery Exhibit/Opening Reception is Saturday April 22, 3-6 p.m., at 5663 Park Blvd. N., Pinellas Park. Visit the Pinellas Arts Village or Studios at 5663 Facebook pages for updates.