Beth Flora Gunn joined our Artist Collective in February 2016. She is originally from Weymouth, MA and holds a bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College. Beth is a survivor of sexual violence and trafficking which contributed to her experiencing homelessness upon arriving to Nashville in July 2015. Since joining the program, she was able to acquire temporary housing with another artist in the collective, and now with a church member while she works full-time and saves for her own housing. She has been doodling in earnest since 2014. Beth likes fine art because it ties in all of her interests (such as literature and religion) and connects everything else in her life in a way that nothing else really does. Beth is also an artisan in the collective and works with fiber arts & jewelry.
Personal Goal: To grow my skills in painting and illustrating, pursue artisan therapy, lead workshops for survivors of sexual violence, own a store, pursue ideas involving sustainability and holistic health, and to win a Newbury Award.
Read an interview with Beth HERE.
When I started doing visual art, I started seeing the world for the first time instead of feeling like I was being watched or that everyone was looking at me. I’m a human sex trafficking survivor and a domestic violence survivor. Something heinous happened to me in 2013. Right now I’m working on this rag doll, which is giving me perspective on objectification, especially of women. This doll helps me to remember my body and myself as alive.”
“I don’t believe I was seen as a person of agency, that I had an opinion, or experience, or even that I had an inner life, a life of the mind. So it makes me feel like a person of value and worth to see the thoughts from my head come to fruition in a visual and tactile sense, in something I can hold in my hand. I’ve done a lot of stitching and re-stitching on her, which is actually what rag dolls are for, in part: to work on your work. They’re easy to mend. Endlessly creating, endlessly created.”
POVA sponsored Beth’s participation in CornertoCorner’s 10-week Business Entrepreneur Academy where she graduated in November 2016. During the program, she learned skills to help her grow her artisan and artistic business.