The Acadiana Advocate feature
Get to know the 10 ArtSpark grant recipients and their art projects in Acadiana
When Lex R Thomas looks at members of the LGBT community in Louisiana, they see wildflowers.
Thomas is a visual artist based in Lafayette, and a 2023 ArtSpark grant recipient for their work seeking to further representation of Acadiana’s queer community.
“When you think of traditional Cajun culture, the LGBT community is often not depicted as part of that culture,” said Thomas, who identifies as nonbinary. “But similar to wildflowers, even if you manicure your lawn, try to get rid of them, they are always going to pop back up.”
ArtSpark, offered by the Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, is in its 10th year of supporting Acadiana-based artists, musicians and creatives with one-time grants and a year’s worth of entrepreneurial coaching on how to advance creative careers. Thomas was one of 10 winners announced last week.
Thomas will use the award to hire live models who represent Acadiana’s diversity, pairing them with native wildflowers to showcase both the beauty and the resiliency of the subject.
“It’s about queer representation and personal catharsis,” said Thomas, who noted feelings of disconnection while growing up in Kaplan. “You’re not alone, these things that you’re feeling inside that you can’t communicate, like grief or trauma. When someone looks at my paintings, I hope they see that this person is experiencing them, too, even if it’s not a direct conversation verbally. They can see my paintings and feel like they’re not the only one experiencing this.”
Read the full article here: The Acadiana Advocate | Get to Know the 10 ArtSpark grant recipients and their projects in Acadiana
This project is supported in part by ArtSpark, an Individual Artist stipend supported by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and administered by the Acadiana Center for the Arts.