Written by: Shelby Nickells
Photos: Kenny Trice
A change in perspective can sometimes be all a person requires to get out there and help somebody in need. Art From The Streets is that change in perspective. This organization allows the homeless to find their passions through art and provide a safe environment to create beautiful pieces of art for the whole world to enjoy. Artist David Schumaker stood out the most to me because of his hard work and dedication to his art and his appreciation for the volunteers at AFTS.
David Schumaker has been with AFTS for over a year, and he has warmed everyone's hearts. The first time I met him was at the December 2015 show after I bought one of his many pieces of art. It was an abstract piece, full of colors, like his bright personality. He asked me if I was willing to feature him in the next issue of the newsletter I would soon be creating.
I conducted an interview with David. He explained to me, “It has changed my perspective to be more compassionate to everybody that I come in contact with but it's become a mantra more than me as far as my mental stability goes.” David has an extraordinary talent that goes far beyond his love for florals and spray paint. He is able to create art of all kinds consisting of his detailed yet abstract paintings of landscapes, insects and flags.
His love for art has allowed him to project his feelings of anger and grief into something all can understand and love. He lost his mother eleven months before stumbling across AFTS, when he retrieved help from a volunteer named Elizabeth who was concerned about David's wellbeing. She soon began to understand why he was acting depressed and angry and insisted that he create a piece of art to show he felt at the time. He ended up painting three small prints of faith, hope and love. “I know I have a place to come. I have a second home and a second family here, so that's what keeps me on track and it keeps me positive.”
As I began to dig deeper into David's life story I learned the reasons behind his ending up on the streets. He explained that it was, “My family dynamics, alcohol and drugs.” His first time on the streets was by choice for three years. His last time being on the streets was close to two years. But with the help of VA social workers, he now has a place that is safe for him to stay.
David was very open and willing to share his story with me. It allowed me to see his perspective on his life. He wanted everyone to know, “just to never give up on your dreams, keep pushing, keep going forward, keep persevering on whatever you like in life, don't ever give up.”