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Artport Gallery Exhibition

As an artist and board certified art therapist, April Fitzpatrick is uniquely suited to exploring the therapeutic effect of creating. As a Black woman, she is personally invested in helping heal race-based traumatic stress. Her artistry marries contemporary abstraction with experimental narrative to produce paintings and mixed media collages that capture the layered realities of Blackness, racial trauma, identity development and oppression.

Using symbols, such as the pineapple, her work evokes deeply seated memories and emotions. Once a rarity reserved for the rich, the pineapple has historically signified wealth and power. Fitzpatrick uses the fruit to represent the luxurious lifestyle of European slave owners juxtaposed against a less examined narrative that positions the pineapple as a global commodity that fueled colonialism and the movement of millions of African and Indigenous people.

Known as a ‘collective fruit,’ the pineapple is made of 200 flowers fused together to form one berry. Though memory is not perfect, collectively, it influences our perception and behaviors. Fitzpatrick uses the collective nature of the pineapple throughout her work to empower viewers to reframe their memories and reclaim their narrative, mirroring the ultimate mission of a client-therapist relationship.

More than 30 pieces of artwork are on display in this exhibition and each one is layered with a variety of media including acrylic paint, oil pastels, fabric, found objects, modeling paste, and socio-cultural collage images to produce a bold sensory language that strives to balance the fantasies of liberation, hope, and a sense of belonging.

“My goal is to keep the eyes moving and the mind questioning as this replicates what I witness within my practice as an art therapist,” said Fitzpatrick. “My art is an invitation and catalyst for conversation, inspiration, and education in an effort to challenge old perspectives and reimagine future possibilities of arts’ role in mental wellness.”

Fitzpatrick’s work has been featured in Black Minds Mag: Issue 2 and ART4EQUALITY x LIFE, LIBERTY, PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Exhibition Catalog. Her work has been exhibited nationally and was featured in Forbes magazine. Currently, April manages an art therapy program in Tallahassee and is committed to using art to create a sense of place for members of the local community.

The works can be seen until June 13, 2022 in person at the Artport Gallery or virtually in COCA’s Online Gallery below.

Click here to see a previously recorded Artist Talk to learn more about April Fitzpatrick, her background, creative process, artworks, and all the things that inspire her.

This is one of many rotating exhibitions curated by the Council on Culture & Arts on behalf of the City of Tallahassee as part of the Art in Public Places program.

The Artport Gallery itself is located in the Tallahassee International Airport, 3300 Capital Circle SW, and is open daily from 8:00 am until 11:30 pm. The first 30 minutes of parking is free for both the short-term parking lot.