With concern for the public health and practice of social distancing, much of the content online has gotten rather stressful. In these trying times, to spread some positivity, we want to highlight the people who are the backbone of the Art From the Streets organization: the volunteers.
Today, we will talk about a studio lead who will remain anonymous.
Before coming to AFTS, she worked in Alzheimer’s respite. She started volunteering after she attended one of the shows that AFTS organized. “I fell in love with the program... this was in December of 2014,” she stated. When asked what inspired her to work for a non-profit, she claimed that she thought the AFTS volunteering program was amazing, and it encouraged her to come back week after week.
Hearing about the stories and lives of the artists at Art From the Streets can get heavy with emotion. When faced with the difficult realities of our artists’ experiences, this studio lead said that “the joy of giving our artists a safe place for expression and community” motivated her to keep going. She claims that she doesn’t have a favorite artist, but she has built many meaningful connections throughout the years with those who have come to Open Studio.
One day she was talking to one of the artists, and the conversation they had stuck with her ever since. When asked, she recounted the story. “The other day, an artist said that she had just returned from jail spa. She said that in jail, she got three meals a day, exercise, peace and quiet, and she even meditated. She came out renewed and refreshed,” she related. “When jail is the better option, that’s incredibly sad.”
We want to thank our studio lead for being with Art From the Streets for over five years. The artists, volunteers, and organization wouldn’t be where they are today without her generosity and kindness.
Crystal has been coming to AFTS Open Studio for more than 5 years and tries to attend once a week “so that I feel like I’m doing something - life’s not just passing me by. I have something to look forward to.”
“Life can draw you away from your real talent, and AFTS helped me rediscover an old talent. [AFTS] gave me the opportunity to rekindle that talent.”
During these times of lock down, social distancing and increasingly less human connection, we are determined to bring our artists and others experiencing homelessness an opportunity for self-expression and creative relief to combat the increasing risk of depression and isolation.