Nearly four months after a local artist received derogatory hate mail that targeted him for his sexual orientation, he's now opening up a free small workshop to teens in the LGBTQ community.
John Gascot and his partner received an anonymous letter in November of 2016 that referred to them as the, 'gay house,' and went on to call them other derogatory terms.
That letter has lit a fire under Gascot to reach out and help others who may feel targeted by offering four free painting workshops to youth in the LGBTQ community in Pinellas County.
"It's really not about painting," he said, "it is about sharing stories in a safe environment."
Gascot, with Studios at 5663, will lead the kids through art to help illustrate how they think the world perceives them and then murals of how they see themselves.
The LGBTQ Expressive Arts Workshop will take place at the Pinellas Arts Village off Park Boulevard.
The workshops will be the next four Thursdays beginning March 23rd with a gallery exhibit on Saturday, April 22nd from 3-6 pm.
At the gallery exhibit, NOMAD Art Bus, will be on site with their mobile bus studio for those in the LGBTQ community to paint the white exterior of it as a way of self expression.
This workshop comes at a time when several groups are beginning a study into homeless LGBTQ youth in Pinellas County.
The non-profit, Family Resources, is looking into the severity of the LGBTQ homelessness as it is calculated to affect an alarming number in the county.
The group is working to survey 300 youth in that community who are in supporting homes, and those who have become home insecure.
They need around 70 more volunteers to take part in the study.
On March 21st, the groups will explore the crisis through theatrical journalism at the Palladium Theatre off 5th Avenue North at 7 p.m.
To learn more or participate in the study in Pinellas County, contact 727-521-5212.
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