Grantee of Brooklyn Arts Fund
Project Profile: QT Art Camp Brings Free Art Workshops to Queer and Trans Youth
Brooklyn Arts Council announced in March 2022 an allocation of over $1.3 million to 238 Brooklyn-based artists and cultural organizations. This year marks the highest number of grantees and awardees as well as the largest amount of funding BAC has ever distributed. Art Spiel in collaboration with Brooklyn Arts Council features some artists who received a Brooklyn Arts Fund, Local Arts Support, and/or Creative Equations Fund grant in 2022.
QT Art Camp just announced its summer series of art workshops for queer and trans youth taking place in New York. These workshops are free and welcome to youth ages 13-19. During the workshops, youth will work with NYC-based trans artists. Workshops including vogueing, film photography, painting and drawing. Youth are encouraged to learn new skills, discuss art with their peers and mentors, and will leave with a finished art piece. QT Art Camp is starting local but hopes to reach youth nationally, especially in smaller cities that don’t currently have many resources for queer and trans youth.
Jesse Pallotta, co-founder of QT Art Camp, is a Brooklyn based artist. He studied at The Evergreen State College and received his degree in fine art and aesthetics philosophy. Pallotta has a decade of training in painting, drawing and sculpting and has a strong focus on figurative work in his practice. He sculpted and installed a statue of Marsha P. Johnson in Christopher Park in 2021, which was the first statue of a transgender person in New York City. When he is not making art, he is an active tenant organizer in Brooklyn.
Tell me about your project and how it fits within your overall practice.
QT Art Camp emerged as an idea when there was a sweeping wave of anti-trans youth legislation in 2021. I spent a lot of time thinking about how challenging the day-to-day life for trans youth is and the mental health impacts youth would have from anti-trans policies. I was reminded of the ways in which art helped me cope with difficult situations as a teenager. Initially, I wanted to volunteer with a LGBTQ art camp in NYC and did not find a platform that focused solely on art making. Thus, I created it with my co-founder Angel Glasby. QT Art Camp pays queer and trans artist to lead workshops with queer and trans youth. Youth are able to engage with older artists to see the real ways that it is possible to make a career from a creative practice – an idea that seemed far away from me when I was a youth. Currently, we have so many talented artists that want to share their practice that includes vogue dancing, printmaking, creating zines and so many more creative disciplines. Everything I’ve created in QT has been from asking myself “what would I have wanted when I was a youth?”.
Currently, my art practice explores public spaces, specifically, bringing trans representation and objects to public spaces as a method to initiate community engagement. The Situationist International, a political avant-garde art group, has been a thread in my work the last few years. I’m interested in the ways in which Beauty can change political circumstances and the way that freedom in public spaces impacts our daily lives. I have a decade of training in classical academic art and the study of beauty has made me see its power. QT Art Camp is about empowering youth to create beautiful things and remind them of their ability to take up space creatively.