Sharing their stories — Art Heals

Helping victims of sexual violence celebrate their survival through art.

Art Heals ArtWalk Opening
Sat., April 11, 6-10 p.m., The Studio@620
620 First Ave South, Saint Petersburg. Free.
Gallery Hours Tues.-Sat. noon-4 p.m. 727-895-6620.

Art Heals, an art exhibit and more, is opening on Saturday night during St.Petersburg’s ArtWalk. This powerful display features artwork created by survivors of sexual violence, and is a culmination of months of collaborative work by local artists and the victims facing such a crisis in their lives.

This art exhibit brings awareness of the counseling, mental health and social services for families offered by the nonprofit Suncoast Center, Inc. Last year, more than 1,600 children and adults in Pinellas County sought help at the Suncoast Center, which is Pinellas County’s only Certified Rape Crisis Center, as well as its sole Children’s Advocacy Center.

Artist Carrie Jadus, recent winner of the MUSE 2015 Visual Arts Award in St. Petersburg, donated her time to help a few survivors create works for the show.

“Olga Bof, president of Keep Saint Petersburg Local, asked me if I could get involved,” said Jadus. “I know she has been working with the Suncoast Center for some time. I got the paints and canvases and helped some of the survivors create a painting that they would be proud of.”

Jadus contributed a vertical piece of her own, titled “From Muddy Waters,” to the project. “The piece I donated was good for the show because it had the same theme of art healing and surviving.”
Laura Irmis created the event artwork.

Local area arts organizations involved with this exhibit include Creative Clay, whose artists will have their artwork featured, as the organization’s mission is to share art’s ability to heal. Grand Central Stained Glass & Graphics helped several survivors create stained glass pieces depicting their journeys. Morean Center for Clay also helped several survivors create clay pieces to express their stories; Morean Center for Clay’s artwork will be exhibited in the show as well.

Local galleries contributed to the experience, including Florida CraftArt and ARTicles Art Gallery & Custom Framing in downtown St. Petersburg. Brian James Gallery Photography photographs survivors in a conceptualized “Dear World” format as they share their messages with the world.

There will be activities for children, and a visual guestbook to document attendees’ thoughts and feelings.

The Suncoast Center Inc. building in St. Pete is on a bright, tree-shaded corner of Central Avenue. The facade sports a mural of butterflies across the front created by local artists Johnny Vitale and Paul Vitale of Vitale Art and Film Studios. This mural would make anyone feel welcome, and it’s a lovely contribution to Central Avenue. Check out other mind-blowing murals done by this artist team, such as the recently completed Alice in Wonderland mural at Mad Hatters off of 28th Street and 46th Avenue North. 

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