THE BLITZ: East Hall at West HallTimes sports video
Juan Acosta has been creating art that has defined who he is since his youth.
“Art is my passion. It’s my religion. It’s who I am. It’s not just what I make, it’s not just drawing something or painting something, it’s my personality. It’s everything that I am,” said Acosta, who moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 1995.
He said that for a long time, he has “felt like he wanted to do something for the community and help people,” and now he’s been given that opportunity.
One of his pieces, “Flower Ground,” recently was selected for the Bus Shelter Art Project. The project, led by the city of Gainesville and Vision 2030 of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce with help from the Quinlan Visual Arts Center, will consist of installing 15 pieces of art on bus shelters within the community.
“Art was selected in order to introduce artistic works which build on the Gainesville Connection brand of connecting people to family, friends, recreation, business, government, education, retail, nonprofits and places of importance. Thematically and visually, works are focused on the connectivity of people to the community,” as stated in a Quinlan press release.
When asked how it felt to have his work selected, Acosta said, “It’s glorious. It’s more than me.”
“When they told me that I won, my heart almost came out of my chest,” he said. “I feel like I have a purpose on earth to do good and help people any kind of way I can. If the art gives me a voice, I feel like I shouldn’t waste it.”
The artist explained that he’s gone beyond just drawing and painting. It was a digital photograph of his chosen for the project.
“Art has always been something that has helped me with letting go of anything bad or if I feel like I have to express myself,” Acosta said. “It (the artwork) represents me being in hard position at the time, just like the cracked concrete, and the flower coming out of the broken concrete was like telling myself that I was going to come out of this rough situation and this rough place where I was and everything was going to be beautiful at some point. When I thought about the bus shelter, I just thought that anyone driving by or anyone walking by or even someone sitting at the bus shelter would see this and maybe think the same thing I thought — that everything is going to be all right even though you’re in a tough situation.”
Acosta said that he plans to continue with competitions and get his name out.
“I’m just looking into any opportunities that I can. I’ve got a lot of projects coming up that I’m going to work on as well. I want to be something bigger than what I am now. My goal is to be known.”