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Out of My  Shell

By Gwendolyn Garth



I am a native Clevelander, a multimedia artist of African descent, and I am a Community Activist. As a champion for myself and other marginalized artists I think of myself as the “Harriet Tubman of Artists” in Cleveland. As I am shown, as I discover and as I create doors of opportunities, I like to show others those doors also and bring them through with me.

I have always created artistically since my youth, but because I was academically talented, my mother encouraged my intellectual side as opposed to my creative side. I thank God that my older sister, Katherine who was also a creative, encouraged and inspired me artistically.

Later on in my life, a friend and a trusted critic pointed out that the word “art” was in the middle of my last name, and that informed my spirit that I was born to be an artist. That moment became a turning point for me: on that day I gave myself permission to be an artist, My Motto is Art is in the middle of my last name and me, and I Have No Plan B!

As the Founding Owner of Kings & Queens of Art, I am living and working in one of my repeated childhood dreams.

Art By Garth 

I grew up in 4 Cleveland Neighborhoods: Hough, Central, Fairfax and Glenville. I currently reside in the Central Neighborhood. I am a graduate of Glenville High School and I have taken art classes at Cooper School of Art and I have taken a multitude of art classes at Cuyahoga Community College ranging from: drawing by hand to drawing on the computer and Art Therapy.

Art has been a very integral part of my life and has been, and still is a hiding place, a resting place, a relaxing place and a healing space for me. As I was born in the 50’s, and my mother being a part of the “Great Migration”, coupled with me displaying academic talent, I was not encouraged to draw by my mother. She felt that my artistic skills and desires were frivolous. Again, I thank God for my older sister (17 years older) who encouraged and nurtured my artistic Self.
I have been dabbling at arts and crafts for all of my life.


My favorite medium is the pencil/graphite, I love to watch my hands as I am sketching, but I also love working with and exploring all mediums of art: I write, I quilt, work with wood and clay and I love painting pictures with words.

At this juncture of my artistic journey, I am working with markers and dabbling with becoming a Graphic Recorder and my work in the community, doing community murals and Art Gardens has led me towards becoming a Social Practice Artist where my community has become my canvas and creating "Social Justice" art pieces.

Art has been such a healer and comforter to me and for me that I create and teach with the therapeutic value of art in all that I do.

If you are interested in my work, please view my gallery and feel free to contact me about KQOA's programs and upcoming events

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