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Black Girl Absolute is the winner of the Pittsburgh Foundation Art Residency

Jasmine Green, who struggled with depression and anxiety as a teenager, didn’t know how to express her feelings to her family and friends. Now 28, she wants to help other girls, especially other young black women, who may have mental health problems due to feeling as lost as she is.

That’s why Green, a painter who creates under the nickname Black Girl Absolute, is writing a book called “A Field Guide for Blue Girls,” a mix of art and poetry focused on how black girls cope with mental health.

“It’s a book inspired by my struggles with mental health as a girl and, growing up and seeing how other girls around me are struggling with mental health, I try to provide some sort of guidelines to let people know that I’m not. alone, ”says Green, of Regent Square.

“A lot of the help out there isn’t directed at us.”

Jasmine green. Photo by Kitoko Chargois for The Pittsburgh Foundation.

In July, Green will travel to Dayton, Wyoming, as the first person to receive the Exposure Tongue River Artist / Activist Residency, a program of the Pittsburgh Foundation’s Exposure Artists program. Sponsored by the foundation and the Tongue River Residency, the one-month residency is intended to support artists from diverse backgrounds and advocate for racial justice in the arts community.

“I am super honored to have been chosen for this. I am truly grateful for the opportunity, “says Green, who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018 and is the director of education for 1Hood Media.” I will spend my time figuring out how much art I want in the book, how much poetry and how much prose “.

It will remain in the property of artist Jeanette Schubert and her husband Doug Gouge, who co-founded the Tongue River Residency in 2019. The couple split between the East End of Pittsburgh, where they lived most of their lives, and Wyoming. . A small residence and studio will be in Green for three or four weeks.

“This residency is an opportunity for us to inspire positive change while elevating the work of artists and activists,” says Schubert. “The arts have such a huge impact in communities but, historically, the arts and artists have not been well funded, especially artists of color. We want to remedy this lack of equity “.

Jasmine green. Photo by Kitoko Chargois for The Pittsburgh Foundation.

The residency does not require Green to submit a completed work; aims to provide an artist with a peaceful place to rest, reflect, create and explore their vision. In addition to the time spent, she will receive a grant of $ 10,000.

Dayton, with a population of approximately 1,000, is located in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains in northeastern Wyoming. The largest city, Sheridan (population 18,000), is 21 miles away. In the area there are museums, galleries and other artists, but above all this will be an opportunity to reflect in the open space of the American West.

“They sent out a welcome packet with photos of the landscape and it’s absolutely gorgeous,” says Green.

She can’t wait to spend some time alone in the wooded area with her cat Sophia, who will get along well. They fly away on July 5th, but the return date is not set. Green says her residence gives her time to work on her book and immerse herself in her thoughts about her life: the past and what lies ahead.

During high school, Green tried to talk to guidance counselors about her feelings of sadness and hopelessness, but it wasn’t until the last few years of her college work at Pitt that she found a therapist to help her.

“This was one of the biggest motivators [for writing the book]”she says.” I wish someone had told me it’s okay, there’s help out there, there’s hope. ”

Although not yet diagnosed, Greens says it is neurodivergent, a concept that basically describes uniqueness in cognitive functioning. Being a survivor of mental health problems is “an ongoing process,” she says.

“It’s a theme I want to touch on in the book, how you learn to live with it, how you recognize the signs that things could go wrong, how you seek support,” he says. “Working with the therapist was helpful in finding ways to cope. It’s about finding a way to live with everything that’s going on and still finding the things that bring you joy. ”

Jasmine Green works in her studio. Photo by Kitoko Chargois for The Pittsburgh Foundation.

In Pittsburgh, Green works in his home studio and sometimes teaches art to young people. Drawing, she says, “was my first form of therapy. I don’t necessarily consider myself the most eloquent speaker so often, when I speak, things get mixed up in my brain. Through art I can untangle those thoughts and focus, get out of my head for a while. I know it has been a balm for me in my life ”.

He’s been thinking about putting his artwork and poetry together in a book for a couple of years now.

“I probably won’t have finished all the drawing by the end of the residency, but I hope I have all the concepts,” he says. “I would like it to be ready by the end of this year or early next year.”

The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Exposure Artists Program is a new arts funding initiative that aims to elevate artists’ work through activities that enhance the creative process. Residency applications were accepted in an invitation-only process, and Green was selected by the foundation’s staff and residency founders.

Exposure awarded its first round of grants this year, giving out $ 215,000 in 12 awards to support individual artists and collectives, including transformative justice grants to BIPOC artists (black, indigenous and people of color) who are activists – Green si defines an “artistist” – and those who had never received funding from the foundation.

Artists Exhibition Program Jasmine Green Pittsburgh Artists Pittsburgh Foundation

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