Photos by Todd Bates
BY J.A. JONES, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Carrie Boucher’s NOMAD Art Bus project has set out to carve a place for art in the lives of children and adults in schools, halfway houses, group homes and public gathering spaces in the Tampa Bay area.
Boucher was born an artist and along the way became something more — an “artivist” whose life and creative practice have inspired her to make a change in a world that badly needs art.
“Art makes us feel good physically – to do the movements of artmaking,” said Boucher, who is a recent recipient of the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero award. “But in our culture, we have this idea perpetuated about art that you can only be one of two things: (a) somebody who’s really good at art or (b) the person who can afford to buy the art that the people who are really good at it make.”
For Boucher, this dichotomy leaves out most of the population, and this is where NOMADStudio — an acronym for Neighborhood Oriented Mobile Art and Design Studio – fills the gap with a mission and a motto: “Art for all.”
Born in Detroit, Boucher’s family relocated to Seminole when she was 10 and early on it was clear that creating art was in her bones. “I was always the art kid in school,” she acknowledged.
After taking advanced placement art classes at Seminole High School, she ended up at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A metalsmith by practice, she created work throughout the Windy City for the next decade. When she was ready for a transition in her life, she returned to Pinellas County, heeding the call to try something different.