Art and transitioning homeless

Some friends and i have been working on a mysterious project with the kids at Joshua Station (a transitional homeless shelter) for about a year now. my initial vision in developing the experiement was to teach the children art and use it as an avenue in to working through deeper things. It's been such a fascinating year. none of us know how to formally teach and most teenagers either don’t like art or pretend like they don’t like it. but, God has done some amazing things. every time i feel like i walk in pretty clueless and when i leave i am always in awe of what happened. there is something to be said about entering in to service with humility. Last night there was an art show and the organizers kindly let us put some of the children’s work in. we were able to sell over half of the pieces and one of the ladies is going to commission one of the girls to paint her something else. this is another small link to the beginning of something great.

Here is the write up we submitted for the pieces.

“Eight young artists from Joshua Station, a transitional homeless shelter walked around downtown Denver capturing their perspective on community though a camera. The group then met together to paint one of the images that stood out to them.

“What is community?” we asked. Their verbal responses were general. Friends, family, Joshua Station…people. As we led them to paint community we saw an interpretation far beyond their words.Though their definition of community was vague, their paintings interpreted the children’s community beyond their words. The intensity of their brush strokes, the value of their color and the attention to their canvas spoke depths about who they were and where they are at.

These eight paintings are a study of children who were given the same task, canvas, brushes and words. It’s an observation of the effect that the word “community” is translated and documented through the eyes of the children at Joshua Station.

We told the group that if their work was to be sold at the art show, a percentage of it would go to a charity. One of the girls muffled, “but we are the charity… charity starts at home.” Proceeds from any sales will go to support the Joshua Station art program and the artist will get a portion of the sales to do an activity of their choice.”


art from homeless teen

teens art