This summer has been an eye-opening experience. Because of the artist grant provided to me from the City of St. Petersburg Office of Cultural Affairs, and the St. Petersburg Art Alliance, I was able to host jewelry workshops to the students of the Boys and Girls Club of St. Pete. What started out as a free community engagement experience for one location turned into two. Students ranging in age from 11-to 17 in groups of 5 had the chance to create rings in the creative facility of Venus in downtown St. Petersburg.
During my time with them, I witnessed some students who jumped right in at the chance of creating jewelry, while others began the process of creating in a negative headspace. Being sure to ask each student at the end of the session of their thoughts on what they created, I received answers of joy and pride.
One occasion that stood out the most is when Student A, whose hand shock uncontrollably, needed to perform a task that would have benefited from a steady hand, continued to put in effort with said task until success occurred. Not once did this student complain. Instead, as another student looked on and moaned about their own inability, the former noted “look at me I’m still trying”. This encouraging notion caused Student B to stop, and what looked like to me, reevaluate and continue working on their own project. This and many more moments that occurred drove home the idea of my wanting to create more opportunities like the workshops held this summer. Because of the artist grant I seek to impact more individuals in underserved communities while using jewelry as my medium.
Thank you, City of St. Petersburg Office of Cultural Affairs, and the St. Petersburg Art Alliance. I can say with confidence your grant has impacted young lives in our community, by exposing them to a medium and opportunity they might not have experienced.