“Dressed as a Friend”
6 – 9 p.m. Saturday, July 31
Hyde Park United Methodist and the greater Tampa Bay arts community gathered together at The Portico in downtown Tampa to immerse their spirits and imaginations into the world of GatsbyNotArt. Over 150 friends, guests and neighbors visited the campus on Saturday evening, both a bit curious and excited about what they’d hear, witness and see for themselves.
After nearly a year of inspiration, creation and planning, Gatsby delivered a thought-provoking display of mixed and multimedia installations under a singular theme: “Dressed as a Friend”.
This pervasive thought, theme and motivation has taken the artist from earlier pieces, capturing visions of racial injustice in the summer of 2020, to “Jesus’ metaphor of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing to examine some of today’s most pressing issues:
- Racial Injustice
- Over-sexualization of Women
- Addiction and
- Society’s Constant Search for External Validation.”
“GatsbyNotArt is an artist, who like all of us, is human.” During his public comments Saturday night, Gatsby shared about how he had escaped a religious cult as a child, and how that experience shaped his adult opinions of “the church”. In pursuit of this partnership, Gatsby admitted some trepidation in collaborating with a religious organization. He also spoke of how some members of society often judge or rebuke organized religions because of commonly shared negative experiences and past traumas. Gatsby further commented about the irony of those outside of “the church” often harshly pre-judging those who choose a path of spiritual practice inside the church. The artist ultimately shared how pleased he was with his entire experience with a space and community that strive to truly love with open doors and open hearts–a no judgement zone.
We are grateful to share this space with Gatsby and give him this platform to share this creative moment on the path of what may be a spiritual awakening.
Arts Team Leader | Natalie Pagan
Special thanks to Arts Team leader, Natalie Pagan, for curating and facilitating the art installation. Natalie, who is also an artist, and her husband AJ have been connected to the Hyde Park UMC worshiping community since encountering the Homeless Jesus sculpture on The Portico campus over 2 years ago (2019). In addition to leading The Portico Arts Team, “Nat” has also been commissioned to install a new “You Are Loved” feature wall mural inside The Portico Cafe. Additionally, she and her husband lead a Word + Table small group. The Portico is thrilled to have such a talented volunteer taking the lead to continue our mission to create a hub for local artists.
More About The Exhibit
The exhibit “Dressed as a Friend” will be on display at The Portico July 31, 2021 through Saturday, October 16, 2021. Learn more about the exhibit and the artist at GatsbyNotArt.com.
The art exhibit is available for viewing during cafe hours, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tuesday – Friday. Guests should check-in with cafe staff for access to The Community Hall.
Art + Open Mic Night | 6 p.m. August 27 | The Portico Cafe
Your next opportunity to connect with and hear from the artist is on the Fourth Friday in August 2021. Learn more about this event on Facebook.
For more info contact Chalette@ThePortico.org.
1 John 5:19
John 10:161 John 5:19