PHOTOS: Equality Florida’s 2019 St. Pete Gala

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Equality Florida welcomed supporters to the Mahaffey Theater on May 11 to celebrate the organization’s annual St. Pete Gala.

The evening began by honoring Linda Lerner with the Voice for Equality Award. Lerner, an advocate for LGBTQ issues in her role on the Pinellas County Schools board, retired in 2018 as its longest-serving member. Fan favorite artist John Gascot then received the Amy S. Mandel Service & Leadership Award for his work with Diversity Arts, his nonprofit which serves disenfranchised, mostly LGBTQ youth.

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‘Sunday School’ exhibit examines religion, social climate

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | John Gascot—Tampa Bay WAVE Award winner for Favorite Local Artist—has announced “Sunday School,” a new exhibit opening April 5 that explores his views on religion.

“As a gay Latino man, I don’t have much positive to say about organized religion or the current administration,” Gascot says. “Creating these pieces has been a fun productive way to let out some of that steam.”

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2019 WAVE Awards Spotlight: John Gascot

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Tampa Bay’s Favorite Local Artist

“Art should be for everyone,” St. Petersburg’s John Gascot says. “It shouldn’t only be for the educated or only for people with a lot of money.”

That’s why the artist’s work is accessible not only in its subject matter and aesthetic, but also its price point. “You can go into my studio and get a hand painted magnet for $5 or a painting for $3,000,” he explains.

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PHOTOS: St Pete Pride hosts Taste of Pride 2019

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ST. PETERSBURG | Food, drink and art enthusiasts gathered March 2 at the historic Coliseum for St Pete Pride’s annual Taste of Pride.

Celebrants were treated to sweet and savory samplings from nearly 20 of Tampa Bay’s favorite restaurants, breweries, catering companies. Taste participants included Dr. BBQ, Flamingo Resort, Iberian Rooster, Old Key West Bar & Grill, Orange Blossom Catering, Punky’s Bar & Grill and The Queenshead and more.

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LGBTQ artists announce multi-venue Pride exhibits for June

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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St. Petersburg | Local LGBTQ artists Chad Mize and John Gascot have partnered to curate two Pride-themed art exhibits across three venues during the month of June.

“LGBTQ and ally artists will be painting the town rainbow this Pride season,” the duo announced via press release May 1. “St. Pete Pride is already well-known as Florida’s largest Pride celebration, boasting a massive parade, a variety of performances, concerts and parties, but this year creatives are making the most out of this yearly tradition to adorn galleries and artful spaces with visual celebrations of individuality, diversity and loving freely.”

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Wedding Bells: John Gascot and Ron Diana

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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weddings-bells-2324“My favorite part was just after the ceremony talking to people, and everyone’s mood was just so light and everyone was happy,” Ron says about their wedding day.

John Gascot, who is an artist and gallery coordinator at Studios at 5663, and Ron Diana, an educator at Cortiva Institute and a licensed massage therapist, have been together for 20 years. They believe that the test of time and being able to get through anything has made their relationship stronger.

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With hate crimes on the rise, victims are choosing to stand up against their bullies

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tampa Bay – Fears of a rise in hate crimes in the wake of Donald Trump being chosen the 45th President of the United States have unfortunately turned into a reality. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported more than 700 hateful incidents in the first seven days after the election.

Of the incidents reported, anti-LGBTQ harassment was the third most common behind anti-immigrant and anti-black attacks. Florida reported the seventh most incidents among all states.

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