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Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Trainer, painter holds art show to benefit nonprofits serving children in need

Marcell Scott, a former body builder, Chippendale dancer, and prolific artist, is preparing for an art show benefit for the Vanessa Behan crisis nursery. Scott, while muscular and intimidating now, was  abused by his father, kicked out of school and homeless as a young boy and teen. He is now a private fitness trainer in his own gym in downtown Spokane, shown Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Marcell Scott, a former body builder, Chippendale dancer, and prolific artist, is preparing for an art show benefit for the Vanessa Behan crisis nursery. Scott, while muscular and intimidating now, was abused by his father, kicked out of school and homeless as a young boy and teen. He is now a private fitness trainer in his own gym in downtown Spokane, shown Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

He’s a trainer, bodybuilder, bodyguard and artist, and he builds muscle cars when he is not working with clients in his Spokane Hit Fitness Studio.

Marcell Scott is tall and muscled with tribal tattoos running down his arms. As a young child he discovered drawing and painting, and now ships, cars and the Monroe Street Bridge appear on his large canvases, sometimes in less than an hour. On Saturday he’s selling some of his acrylic paintings to benefit TeamChild and Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery at an exhibition at the Saranac Commons, 19 W. Main Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m.

“I want to give something back to organizations that help the kind of kid that I was,” Scott said.

On the wall in Scott’s fitness studio hangs a portrait of his scowling dad. He looks a lot like Clint Eastwood’s famous character Dirty Harry, and he made life hell for the young Scott.

“I was the youngest of 10 kids and my dad was in his late 60s when I was born,” Scott said. “He was a very impatient man. An alcoholic. He was in prison.”

Dad also tortured Scott on a regular basis. Scott said he was beaten so hard with a belt that authorities counted more than 50 marks left by the buckle on his back. He’s got scars from where his dad shot him in the back, hit him over the head and drilled into his knuckles as a form of punishment.

“School said I was unteachable,” Scott said. “Actually, I began drawing because I discovered that as long as my hands are busy my mind can focus.”

As with many adult survivors of childhood abuse, there are blocks of time that Scott can’t recall.

“My dad made me stand on a stool with a noose around my neck for hours while he went drinking,” Scott said.

By 15, Scott was emancipated and living with a much older sister in Oregon. He hooked up with petty criminals who broke into cars, dropped out of high school and bounced around between relatives’ homes.

Scott is now 43 and tells the story of his violent upbringing in an earnest and matter-of-fact way.

Though he was always into drawing, the acrylic paintings are a new endeavor. Sailboats, shorelines and old trucks in fields are some of the motifs.

“I do charcoal portraits and the painting kind of grew out of that,” Scott said.

He landed in Spokane after a stint as a Chippendale dancer took him to the Coeur d’Alene Casino in 2000 and he fell in love with the area.

Now his 4-year-old fitness studio has more than 80 clients of all ages, and walls covered by his paintings.

Rosemarie Thurman, who’s an attorney with TeamChild’s Spokane office, said her organization is grateful for Scott’s generosity and openness.

TeamChild is a statewide organization that provides legal aid to young people between 12 and 21 who are homeless or trying to get back on their feet.

“I’d say we work with about 300 kids in Spokane,” Thurman said. “We also help them find access to drug treatment and get back into school if they’ve been suspended.”

The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery provides a safe place for children of parents who are going through a challenging time, and feel like they can’t take care of their children.

Scott has two daughters and said his childhood often comes back and haunts him.

“But I know that I can be a much better parent than my dad was,” Scott said. “What he did to me, I would never do to my own kids. To anybody. ”

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