Imagine the Possible: Trans Teens Paint

Imagine-the-Possible_400Earlier this spring, Gender Diversity organized a workshop for teens, providing a space for creative expression with their peers and an opportunity to practice acrylic painting and mixed media skills. The art that was created reflects who these teens are and how they fit into the world.

The Trans Teen Art Project encompasses this workshop, the documenting of the project through photography, and an exhibit of the resulting artwork and photography.

The goals for the project are to:

  • Support trans youth with a safe space for creative self expression
  • Build community into the future
  • Develop public awareness of the trans youth community

This project was born out of the belief that creative expression through art is a powerful agent of social change. Trans youth comprise current and future leaders of the trans, queer, and other communities. The intent was to foster the development of technical artistic skills and opportunities for self-expression for participants, and in so doing, help strengthen the voices of this generation  in our community.

Families and youth who comprise Seattle-based Gender Diversity’s monthly support group community also have connections into broader communities through their schools, neighborhoods, and civic and faith associations in the Seattle metropolitan area. It is important for these intersecting communities to be aware and supportive of the presence of trans youth in our region, and to understand the needs of this population and to recognize their contributions. Public exhibition of the art resulting from these workshops can serve to promote understanding, empathy, and connection.

Imagine the Possible: Trans Teens Paint will be on exhibit at downtown Seattle’s Central Library (1000 4th Ave) from June 17 through Aug 3, and at the Gender Odyssey conference at the WA State Convention Center, Aug 4-7.

TeenArt brushOpening reception: Thursday, June 16, 6-8 pm. Central Library 3rd floor. Open to the public.

Gage Academy of Art supported this project by donating classroom facilities. Gage also provides a welcoming environment for trans and genderqueer teens through Teen Art Studios (TAS), a free, year-round, evening drop-in studio art program for young artists.


Jacqui Beck is an artist, creativity coach, and art educator living in Seattle, Washington. Jacqui has been teaching art to students of all ages for 15 years. She has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Victoria, is an adjunct professor of art at Seattle Pacific University, and has studied at Gage Academy of Art and with many nationally known artists.

Jacqui’s artwork is colorful and expressive. Working in acrylics and mixed media, she paints with a sense of depth and whimsy. Her award-winning acrylic paintings are collected and exhibited in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand and are available through Columbia City Gallery and artEAST Gallery. Her work has been published in The Artist’s Magazine and in AcrylicWorks: The Best of Acrylic Painting, Northlight Books. Her artwork is also featured in Linda Gromko’s new book: Where’s MY Book? A Guide for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth, Their Parents, & Everyone Else.

Duncan Gibbs is an artist and community activist, living in Seattle. He has served as Art Coordinator for the annual, international, Seattle-based Gender Odyssey conference since 2011, curating exhibits of work sourced from the community and allies. Exhibits have included painting, video, animation, jewelry, photography, cos-play and woodworking, by community members, students, and established artists. Last year the conference hosted Carina Del Rosario’s Passport Office and Project, a recipient of Seattle 4Culture funding.

In 2015, Duncan organized three art making sessions with Gender Diversity family support group kids (ages 4 through 11) to produce an exhibit of artwork for the conference, which was also hosted by Ingersoll Gender Center for the Capitol Hill Art Walk. Additionally, the conference art team, including Jacqui, conducted five hours of collaborative art-making activity during the conference Kids Camp, resulting in paintings that were auctioned to raise funds for Gender Diversity.

Duncan has exhibited his own work in group shows at Seattle Community College, Pratt Fine Arts Center, and in the Capitol Hill Art Walk. He has a master’s degree in education from San Francisco State University.


Baya Walls is a white, female-bodied, queer, first generation US citizen with German roots, feminist, democratic socialist, and PhD student in sociocultural anthropology with a focus on trans masculinity. They are a long- time photographer with an eye for detail telling stories through pictures and are looking forward to their second year at Gender Odyssey.