Gerry Florida, owner of Florida Recycled, is a community-minded and award-winning artist who advocates for creative development in therapeutic rehabilitation as well as in personal, cultural, and community development. She is the Artist Facilitator for Allegheny County Shuman Juvenile Detention Center and the creator of Studio Blue at Shuman Center. Studio Blue and its satellite sites operate as resident-run art studios for at-risk youth, teaching participants art, crafts, and trade skills and providing them with an opportunity to use these skills on community enriching art projects that contribute to community service hours.
Gerry uses sustainable, recycled, vintage, and contemporary materials in her own art and educates using the imperfection of the materials as the catalyst for creating beauty…which serves as a subliminal parallel to creating a beautiful outcome within students’ own lives. Gerry has coordinated a network of partners, working with Allegheny County 5th Family Division Courts, Allegheny County Probation, Allegheny County CISP Program, Construction Junction, Carnegie Mellon Osher, the Craftsmen’s’ Guild of Pittsburgh, City Theatre, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, Store Express, the National Partnership for Juvenile Services, the Juvenile Detention and Alternatives Programs as well as numerous others, to bring the challenges of at-risk populations to the forefront. These robust partnerships create awareness of the needs of at-risk youth, seniors, and special needs populations for better rehabilitative outcomes, more integrated communities, and safer neighborhoods.