Today’s highlighted organization is Art From The Streets, providing individuals experiencing homelessness with the means to create art.
Three times a week, AFTS holds open studio sessions; anyone who is at risk or currently experiencing homelessness can come to these sessions to paint and draw. This provides so much for those who participate.
The main objective is to give the artists a chance to create works of art, and then sell those pieces. The biggest event that AFTS holds is their annual sale, which is happening this weekend at the Austin Convention Center (details here)! Last year there were nearly 2,000 attendees at the show, and in 10 hours over $100,000 worth of art was sold. That money goes directly to those artists whose work is purchased. For a few, it has been enough to allow them to find permanent housing. For most of the artists, the modest income means they are able to purchase necessities such as food, clothing, or shoes.
But the volunteers say that through the process of creating art, the participants find rewards beyond money. There are personal relationships formed between the artists and volunteers, and between the artists themselves, that are uplifting and encouraging. From an AFTS volunteer, “There is a feeling of pride and self-worth experienced at the annual show, where the usual social hierarchy gets turned on its head, transforming them from faceless homeless people in need of help into the stars of the show.” This is an invaluable experience for both the participants and the Austin community as a whole.
Starting January 5th, you will be able to drop off supplies such as brushes and paints to the Trinity Center at 7th & Trinity. The group is also looking for volunteers for their open sessions. If you are interested, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see some of the artists’ work, check out the AFTS website here.
We will be attending the art show on Sunday and you should too! Come find that perfect piece of art to add to your collection, and if you see us say hi!