Art for the Homeless in Austin
Art for the Homeless in Austin
by Erika Mehlhaff
Austin, Texas is a hub of creativity. The capital city of the Lone Star State, Austin is home to countless artists. Strictly speaking, though, some of the city’s finest artmakers don’t actually have homes to call their own. Enter Art From the Streets.
Art From the Streets uses art for change in the local community. Art From the Streets (AFTS) is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to local artists experiencing homelessness. The Austin organization offers transient artists support and a safe and nurturing environment where they can focus on art.
Are you interested in supporting Art From the Streets with your time? If so, please complete a Volunteer Registration Form, and a representative from the organization will contact you about ways you can help!
But AFTS does not encourage the people it serves to create art solely for art’s sake; they do so much more than that. The AFTS organization provides a space for these homeless and at-risk creatives to express themselves through art as a step towards creating purpose and stability in their lives. It encourages them to use their creativity to find a way out of homelessness through the sale of their work.
AFTS participates in and presents several art events in Austin every year. In fact, this past October, the organization held its 30th Annual Art From the Streets Art Show and Sale. If you are looking for local Austin art for sale, consider supporting AFTS and its artists by purchasing prints or merchandise of artwork that truly makes a positive difference in the community, either in person at an art show or other art event or online.
According to Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Gray and other city leaders, Austin has a goal of ending homelessness in 2023. New housing is being built throughout the city to get people off the streets, and programs are being funded to provide other forms of support for the homeless population in Austin. But even as initiatives to reduce and eliminate housing are underway, homelessness in Austin continues to be a huge problem--it has increased recently by about 20%.
AFTS continues to do what it can to help, with the understanding that “focusing on housing alone does not achieve other equally important goals that are relevant and motivating to improving and sustaining a quality of life” as stated in the AFTS mission statement. The organization supports local transient artists by encouraging them to exercise personal autonomy while developing their artistic skills, side by side with other members of the community, to uncover helpful resources such as job and housing leads.
Art From the Streets is an Austin-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was established in 1991 to give transient people a way to develop as artists and to use their creativity to climb out of homelessness. Purchasing artwork supports the artists directly. Donating to our program helps us to offer a free Open Studio for the homeless and at-risk.