Kath Leverenz, Continuity STL
When I was seven, my brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
It was a very severe untreatable form, and there weren’t any medications that really worked for him. He’s this amazing artist; and before he got sick, he could draw photorealistically and would tell these beautiful stories in metaphor that were so powerful. I always aspired to be like him in so many ways. He still creates, but not like he used to. When he got sick, my way of trying to connect with him was to create a lot.
Art therapy is what opened me up to get in touch with who I am; so I could be present for other people. In school, I was making videos and working with the camera and I would point it at my face, talk to it, and make these really intimate videos exploring family and myself.
I got into Continuity STL, and I just couldn’t stop doing video work. Continuity STL’s whole mission is to expand diversity in media, not just through the content being produced but through the content creators. There are not a lot of queer non-binary people like me telling stories or wanting to tell other people’s stories and fight for social justice. Continuity gave me more language, more skills, and more community.
As a non-binary queer person, it’s really important to focus on other issues. I want to be as intersectional as possible and fight for every social justice issue. That’s what I want to learn — how to do it through video, and I wanted to do it in a responsible way, which is why I’m glad I have the background in art therapy because it helps me take this reflexive position behind the camera and think, “What is the story the subject wants to say?”
I want people’s stories to be told the way that they want them to be told.
— Kath Leverenz