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Youth Art Corp students create art from recycled wine bottles in green art class

Top=Finished painting of Sailboats by Sarah Dees. Bottom, Sarah Dees with Youth Art Corp Director, Kimberly White. The painting was created by Sarah live during event at St. Pete Yacht Club.
Top=Finished painting of Sailboats by Sarah Dees. Bottom, Sarah Dees with Youth Art Corp Director, Kimberly White. The painting was created by Sarah live during event at St. Pete Yacht Club.
Sarah Dees

Young people are making art from recycled materials, taking items that could have been trashed and clogging landfills and instead, turning them into valuable works of art. Students at area R'Clubs and Boys and Girls Clubs, located in local schools and recreation centers, have been taking Green Art courses, taught by Sarah Dees through the Youth Art Corp program. Students are learning the importance of preserving our environment. Class projects allowed students to make baskets from milk jugs, flowers from polystyrene foam egg cartons, butterflies from aluminum pie plates, as well as decorating recycled wine bottles. An art show was born out of the bottles created by the young people in two different middle schools.

Green Art show at Painting with a Twist in St. Petersburg
Sarah Dees

“The Green Art Exhibition”
Spring Art Show of Recycled Wine Bottle Art - Painted /Decorated bottles
at Painting with a Twist
2527 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, FL., phone 727-327-4488
Exhibition open for sales from May 18, 2014, through June 1, 2014
Featuring student work from:
Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School 21st CCLC/R’Club
John Hopkins Middle School R’Club

Sarah Dees is an artist employed at Painting with a Twist in St. Petersburg, where people come to enjoy the "sip and paint" art instruction. Marvin and Leslie Gay, owners of Painting with a Twist, have always recycled the cans, plastic bottles and wine bottles that have come out of the studio, usually dropping them in collection bins by Crescent Lake Park. When the Green Art classes started in March, 2014, the Gays allowed Dees to donate the wine bottles to the Youth Art Corp program.

Students in five different locations had a wonderful time this Spring, creating works of art using a variety of media and techniques on both the transparent and colored wine bottles. They learned to work with transparent glass paint, modpodge and tissue paper, acrylic enamel paints, metallic paints, using lettering and other techniques on the glass bottles. Students were able to choose to put a price on their work and sell any bottles they wanted to, keeping 100% of the money, or to write NFS (not for sale) and keep their bottles after the show ends.

There was an opening reception on May 18th, which was attended by families and friends of the student artists. The public is invited to come and see the show. Painting with a Twist is open on week day afternoons after 1 pm and open day and evenings most weekends.

Painting with a Twist has long been devoted to contributing to our community, and the business has donated thousands of dollars to local nonprofit organizations through their monthly "Painting with a Purpose" events. Leslie and Marvin Gay were recently featured in an article in the New York Times, which discussed their success as entrepreneurs. They are now in the process of opening their third Painting with a Twist location in the Tampa Bay area.

The Green Art class is one of many classes given by the Youth Arts Corps, Family Resources, Inc, through the Juvenile Welfare Board and Coordinated Childcare Enrichment Overlay System. Young people between the ages of 9 to 14 participate in the program, learning about fine arts to develop their potential. The after-school program of Family Resources teaches self-expression, self-esteem and develops creativity and confidence for at-risk youth in our community.

Resident artists and teachers of many subjects go to the area schools and centers, providing classes before and after school, providing opportunities for learning these students would not have gotten any other way. The Youth Arts Corps is a youth development, arts education and job training program. The Corps offers two after-school and summer arts education programs, provides arts activities at a number of residential, recreational and juvenile justice facilities in Pinellas and Manatee counties, and offers training and technical assistance in youth arts program development and implementation. All arts workshops are taught by professional artists.

Family Resources has been the agency to turn to for crisis counseling, safe shelter and safe respite for runaway and homeless teens since 1970. The agency serves young people and is committed to making a difference in their lives when help is needed. Their mission is to strengthen families and build better communities by providing prevention, support and counseling to children, teens and families. They accomplish this through the vision that every child should be safe, that every troubled teen deserves help, and that every family torn apart in crisis be given the opportunity to mend.

As an organization, Family Resources believes in:

  • Strengthening Families
  • Advancing Youth Development
  • Accessible safety nets in times of crisis
  • Advocacy and education on behalf of children & families
  • Achieving one's highest potential
  • Diversity & cultural competence
  • Community partnerships and collaborations

A "Giving Challenge" was held recently to raise funds for the program at an event held at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. On May 6 - 7, 2014, Family Resources participated in the 2014 Giving Challenge sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota. Both the Pinellas and Manatee offices hosted a "Sheltering the Kids from the Storm" Launch Party on the evening of May 6 and guests supported Family Resources by making donations to the Giving Challenge Campaign.

Family Resources CEO Lisa Davis, Ph.D., presented the Giving Challenge event at the Launch Party on May 6. Sarah Dees painted live during the event, with the goal of auctioning the painting that was being created near the end of the evening. When the auction time came, the painting of racing sailboats sold for $1,000, which was donated to the Youth Art Corp program. The Giving Partner supports Family Resources programs.

To learn more about Youth Art Corp and Family Resources, please contact Cindi Mainer, Director of Community Relations, 727-521-5211, or email:
Family Resources Administrative Office
5180 62nd Ave., Pinellas Park, Florida, 33781, phone (727) 521-5200

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