How to Help Homeless Local Artists During the Holidays
by Erika Mehlhaff
Homelessness is a major crisis in America. People end up in homelessness due to a wide range of reasons, from alcohol or drug addiction to mental health circumstances, a lack of affordable housing to limited housing assistance, and unemployment to poverty in general. But while homelessness has increased significantly over the years in this country, there are people fighting back against it and trying to solve the problem.
Art From the Streets (AFTS) is one such group of people. An all-volunteer program located in Austin, Texas, AFTS is on a mission to provide a safe and encouraging environment in which the positive spirit and creativity for those experiencing or facing homelessness are nurtured through their own artistic expression. They know that shelter and housing initiatives aren’t the only way to fight the homelessness epidemic in America.
AFTS provides art supplies and classes to homeless people in the community, as well as platforms and events where they can sell their work, and has been doing so for the last 30 years. The organization provides assistance to local artists experiencing homelessness by providing them with a safe and nurturing environment where they can produce art.
AFTS secured its own creative space in East Austin in September 2022, after decades of operating out of temporary physical locations generously provided by other local nonprofit groups. AFTS helps transient artists create a sense of community and connection that they often lack otherwise, as well as helping them develop a pathway to self-determination, by allowing them access to art materials during Open Studio sessions, hosting art sales and gallery showings, and collaborating with other community groups during their creative events. It is at their 2000-square-foot space at the Canopy that they will continue to serve people in the local Austin community through the creative arts.
If you would like to help Art From the Streets fight back against homelessness and help artists in the Austin area who are currently experiencing homelessness or are at great risk of becoming homeless this holiday season, please consider the following:
- Purchase holiday merchandise
- Purchase 30th Anniversary Collection of prints
- Make a donation
- Purchase from our Amazon Wishlist
- Purchase your gifts through Amazon Smile and add AFTS as the organization you want to support
AFTS counts on support from people like you to fulfill their mission. When you give of your time and treasure to this nonprofit organization, you positively impact the lives of so many people. If you have any questions about how AFTS is serving the community or if you want to volunteer with the arts organization, please fill out the volunteer registration form on the official website of Art From the Streets or contact the organization directly.
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.