Award-winning artist Denise Duarte is offering a free, weekly art program, “Express Yourself,” for LGBTQ youth.
“The program will nurture creativity and provide leadership skills, team building, and community building opportunities in a safe and accepting environment,” said Duarte, an artist in residence at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB).
Duarte has facilitated and installed six community art ceramic murals that “celebrate, not only the sponsoring community facility, but the residents that created it,” she said about her work in her previous residence in Las Vegas, Nev. She has more than 24 years of social justice activism history and currently studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in collaboration with MICA’s Community Arts Collaborative AmeriCorps program. She developed and implemented more than 11 public art and community art projects to date, with three more scheduled this year.
The youth art program consists of several short art workshops and will continue until the end of July 2012. The workshops will introduce the visual as well as the tactile experience of making art while emphasizing the techniques to polish and perfect their artwork.
“The skills learned will encompass analysis, critical thinking, and problem solving as well as basic art construction and design,” she said.
In addition to the “Express Yourself” youth art program, Duarte recently received a grant to help fund a temporary art project at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Forceís annual Creating Change Conference, held this coming year in Baltimore, January 25-29, 2012. The MICA’s Student Affairs Community Service Fund will help Duarte purchase art materials for projects that will be chosen, designed, and created by the participating youth. She is working with Creating Change’s local host committee to include a community arts project with the youth planning to attend the conference.
“It is our intent that those under the age of 16 will attend the conference for free,” she said. Youth older than 16 can volunteer four hours per day at the Youth Hospitality Suite and then attend the rest of the day for free. Baltimore City schools are scheduled to be closed January 26-27, which will offer youth a presence at the conference. “This opportunity to participate at this conference will expose the youth to LGBTQ leadership, as well as a chance to be proactive in social engagement and organization,” she said.
In addition to the youth art program, Duarte is planning a permanent and portable art piece reflective of Maryland LGBT history, to be unveiled at the GLCCB-organized Baltimore Pride, June 15-17, 2012. “This project will be designed, planned, and created by the youth with my facilitation,” said Duarte.
The artwork will be in celebration of the GLCCB’s 35th Anniversary and will be showcased throughout the weekend at various participating venues, such as the Mount Vernon Block Party and the Pride Festival in Druid Hill Park.
“Artistic expression can impact others more deeply than other forms of communication,” said Duarte. “It can be the message, the messenger, and the call to action! The Creating Change conference is a perfect opportunity for Baltimore’s LGBTQ youth to express themselves artistically regarding the issues that impact them.”
Express Yourself! LGBT Youth Art Classes
Saturdays • 3:30-5:30pm. • GLCCB
The National Conference on LGBT Equality Creating Change
January 25-29, 2012 • Hilton Hotel
401 W. Pratt St • CreatingChange.org