Artist helps FamiliesFirst

Press release:
A well-known Pensacola artist is helping FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview Center to recruit foster families from within African-American communities.

Sonja Griffin Evans, whose work often reflects her Gullah heritage, agreed to provide a painting that would illustrate FamiliesFirst’s campaign to reach out to African-Americans.

FamiliesFirst Network is responsible for the safety, stability and well-being of abused and neglected children in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties. Under a contract with the state of Florida, FamiliesFirst provides foster care and related services for the four-county area.

The network recently developed a campaign urging African-Americans to “Provide Hope and Heritage by Opening Your Heart and Home.” Griffin Evans’ painting of a black woman and child is being used for the campaign’s poster. The artist painted the work specifically for that purpose.

The poster and FamiliesFirst literature will be placed with businesses throughout the four-county area. Additionally, foster parent recruiter Terri Marshall will hold meetings in each county, inviting staffs from beauty parlors, barber shops, boutiques and other businesses that serve predominately African-American clientele. The purpose is to teach them about foster care so they can share the information with their customers.

A native of Beaufort, S.C., Griffin Evans is best known for vibrant acrylic paintings depicting life in the Gullah communities that dot coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Evolving from enslaved Africans who were brought to the Sea Islands in the 1800s, Gullah remains a distinct culture and language, surviving to the present in much same way as the Creole culture has survived in Louisiana.

Griffin Evans’ more recent work has concentrated on Florida’s “Forgotten Communities,” historically black communities that have all but disappeared over the years. She recently opened a gallery in Pensacola’s DeVilliers Street neighborhood.

To learn more about FamiliesFirst Network and its outreach efforts, call (850) 453-7777.