One of the most magnetic things about Austin is that our streets, walls, and residents are billboards of color, creativity, and experimentation. Art is a way of life here and personality is praised.
Therefore, it was no surprise when Art From the Streets hit our radar: a non-profit that uses art to help local homeless residents connect to a sense of purpose and foster higher self-esteem.
Twice a week, Art From the Streets provides a safe and encouraging environment where homeless residents can go to paint and draw. The program is active year round, with the highlight being an annual art show.
Bill Jeffers, co-founder of the program, says the effects of Art From the Streets go beyond the art itself. “Having these weekly classes to attend gives them something to focus on. They are much less likely to break the law or get into trouble because they have something they care about that requires them to come back week after week.”
The entirely all-volunteer program is now in it’s 21st year. Due to its success, Austin has been assisting other cities to establish their own programs.
Attend Get Art: Give Hope
In addition to the weekly art classes for Austin’s homeless, the non-profit gives the public an opportunity to experience the program through an annual show and sale called Get Art: Give Hope. The Austin community is encouraged to attend the event, meet the artists, and view over 2,000+ pieces of work available for purchase. All of the artwork is created by homeless participants during the weekly classes. Original artworks start at $35, with proceeds going directly to the artists.
Jeffers says the event is powerful for all who attend. “Homeless residents often feel less capable and worthy. They struggle just to feel noticed everyday. This event turns that idea on its head. This is their art show, and everyone who shows up is there for them. Rarely do they get to experience being in the spotlight, and that support from the community is powerful for their self esteem. It also gives attendees an opportunity to connect with the artists and realize that every person on the street is still an incredible human being.”
This year’s event is taking place at the Austin Convention Center on November 9-10, 2013, from 12-5 PM. There is a suggested $5 donation at the door that helps cover the program’s ongoing costs for supplies and materials. Many of the artists will be present at the show to discuss their work with potential buyers.
Kendra enjoys brownies from the center of the pan and dominating her bucket list. When she isn’t hunting down all the weirdest adventures in Austin, she’s writing words at HeyKendra.com.
Photos courtesy of Art from the Streets.