Diane Morales-Carter, Sarai Davila, Kathy Carrier, Jill Gamboa and Marie Guicciardini all have turned to art to keep their minds at ease during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has forced many residents to find creative ways to keep their minds occupied while quarantined at home. Diane Morales-Carter, Sarai Davila, Kathy Carrier, Jill Gamboa and Marie Guicciardini all have turned to art to keep their minds at ease.

Morales-Carter has been an artist for years and is the owner of The Drawing Point (www.thedrawingpoint.com), a private art lesson business in FishHawk. When the pandemic hit, she made videos for her art students to watch at home with their parents. Making these videos kept her in contact with her students and made her feel like she was helping them and their families during the pandemic.

“The parents are so thankful for the opportunities for their children,” Morales-Carter said. “This gives us the opportunity to give back to our community and it brings me great joy as well.”

Sarai Davila of Brandon was laid off from her job as a bartender at Brandon Bootleggers’ Brewing Company when the pandemic hit. Davila is a local chalk artist.

“I was depressed for a few weeks,” she said. “Kristen Brown, the director of TRIBE Seminole Heights, reached out to me and asked me if I would come down to her place and create a giant chalk game board on the sidewalks in front of TRIBE. She got me out of my house and doing art again. It made me happy and I became very focused on my art.”

Carrier is a former journalist and artist who lives in Valrico. The pandemic gave her the opportunity to start sculpting with recycled material and papier-mâché.

“I’ve been doing art all my life, but before COVID, I wanted to make papier-mâché insects,” Carrier said. “For the past six months I’ve been creating my papier-mâché insects and they will be featured in my own art exhibition called ‘Ms. Mantis and Garden of Whimsy’ at the Carrollwood Cultural Center from September 28 to January 4 of 2021. I hope my colorful art brings as much happiness to the people who see it as it does to me.”

When the pandemic hit and Gamboa of Riverview had to resign from her job as a preschool teacher to stay home with her children, she turned to art to ease her mind. Now, her art has become a full-time business (www.facebook.com/customartworkbyjillandmike).

“I’ve always painted, but recently I got into acrylic painting and pouring resin,” Gamboa said. “My art has now become my main source of income while keeping me balanced while taking care of my family.”

Guicciardini of FishHawk works with developmentally disabled adults. She is an essential worker who started painting rocks as a hobby four years ago. When the pandemic hit, she created a Facebook group page called FishHawk Painted Rocks and started posting pictures of her painted rocks and where she hid them in the community for people to find.

“All of this has made me feel great that I can bring happiness to families during the pandemic,” Guicciardini said. “With the pandemic, kids need to know the world is still a fun place and they need to have fun in it.”

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.