The Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative (SBAC) and Art Center Sarasota partnered with four Sarasota County high schools and one middle school to offer students of African descent the opportunity to participate in a visual arts exhibition commemorating Black History Month. The 2021 “Student Black Muse” exhibit, which showcases the works of 20 young artists, is available for viewing virtually through March 5 at www.artsarasota.org and www.suncoastblackartscollaborative.org.
According to Michéle Des Verney Redwine, SBAC’s president and founder, a vital element of SBAC’s mission is to offer opportunities for young students of color to find expression in creative outlets. For this exhibit, students in visual art classes at Booker, Riverview, Sarasota, and Northport high schools participated. The initiative also included eighth-grade art students from Booker Middle School.
Redwine says that SBAC involved students from Booker Middle School as a pilot program, which was created because “students of African descent need encouragement and mentoring to continue creative studies in visual or performing art curricula at the high school level. We developed this initiative as a way to engage students of color to further explore the arts in high school,” says Redwine.
How to prepare students of color to meet the many challenges life presents?
“One way is to give them opportunities to express themselves through the artistic medium,” says Redwine. “These students were inspired and excited by this opportunity. Their work in this exhibition reflects their talent, life experiences, and ingenuity. We’re thrilled for these exceptional students and proud to show their work.”