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Traces of cultural identity
Artist says hello to youth by using art as a bridge to community
Artist Marianne Scott talks about the silhouette process Tuesday with 5-year-old Zavier Catrell at the at the Veterans and Community Outreach Center in Gainesville. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

World Friendship Silhouette Portraits

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday through Aug. 30
Where: Veterans & Community Outreach Foundation, intersection of Ridge Road and Athens St., Gainesville.
Cost: Free
More information: 770-503-1638

Painter Marianne Scott began her series of World Friendship Silhouette portraits with a celebration of diversity in mind.

Scott, 59, of Gainesville has traced the silhouettes of friends and family for more than a decade, incorporating them into abstract paintings.

Scott volunteers full-time at the Veterans & Community Outreach Foundation, which houses the C.C. Cloud Youth Center.

Her silhouette portraits, including some of youth that attend the center's after school program, will be on display throughout August.

"The work really does sing a song about cultural diversity," Scott said. "The border of the pictures is a rap song the children taught me about our respect for cultural diversity. It says ‘hello,' in many languages."

Soon, portraits created by the children that attend the center's after-school program will hang alongside Scott's.

"Since I'm an artist, and we work with all the arts with the children, I decided to instigate a visiting artist exhibit program," Scott said.

"An artist hangs an exhibit of their work, and then we work with the children to create art in that style."

Scott volunteered to be the first artist to take on the task, then lined up a series of other artists to follow, designating Tuesdays at the center as "Arts Day."
She said she has seen the impact community arts programs can have on children.

"I really believe in arts as prevention ... that arts can give you something else better to do than get in trouble," Scott said.

Scott said creating silhouettes and portraits "connects with the theme of identity and who you are," so she felt it was a good way to start the school year with the children.

"This project is real dear to my heart," Scott said.
"I feel like it really fits the theme and the needs we have right now in our community," she said, adding that it was her goal to bridge the gap between ethnic groups.

"I've been really concerned in Gainesville that we have a lot of separate little social circles and cliques and communities within the community," Scott said.

"I felt like I wanted to make a statement with my art about unity within diversity."