The Backbone of Art From The Streets - Volunteer Series III

July 31, 2020

Volunteer Now. A nonprofit is NOTHING without their volunteers and the people that work behind the scenes to make the organization prosper. Art From The Streets recognizes the hard work and dedication every volunteer pours out to support our artists and program. We are privileged to work alongside a group of selfless volunteers who support our mission in countless ways. We want to express our gratitude to our volunteers for lending their time and energy, through a series called “The Backbone of Art From The Streets.” This article series will allow us to spotlight our volunteers and share their story, as well as journey with AFTS. 


Event Coordinator for AFTS Fundraising Committee (2020 - Present)

Fundraising Committee (2014 - Present) 

Volunteer (2014 - Present)



My dear friend, Kelley Worden, was volunteering with AFTS (Art From The Streets) and asked me to help run the Silent Auction portion of their fundraiser one year. I remember being thrilled that the silent auction was indoors as it was beastly hot at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum that year. I also remember being overwhelmed seeing all of the art, realizing the talent and then knowing the artists lived on the streets. That evening, AFTS struck a chord with me - I was hooked.



My experience with the program, the artists and other volunteers fundamentally changed my ideas and opinions of people who live at-risk or in homelessness. I found it to be humbling and heartwarming, influencing me to volunteer on the fundraising committee for the next several years. It was fun creating an environment to celebrate AFTS past  accomplishments as well as have the opportunity to educate donors of what was to come in the future. 



I remember the first encounter I had with Jefferson Bright - a VERY talented and humble man. We connected through a discussion regarding the U.S. military - my own father is a Navy veteran who served during the Korean war. Jefferson shared with me that he had actually served in two different branches of the military - the Navy and the Army. I was saddened that someone who has given so much for our country was not being cared for better. He was such a gentle soul and certainly not angry about it, even though I was. 



My husband and I were shopping at the annual show a few years ago when we found this print by Katie Joy Kingdom and fell in love. She had created a piece from objects found around the Austin area and wrote “I love music” over the top, a phrase that resonated with me. Katie Joy said she could bring the original piece the next day if we wanted to purchase it. My husband and I went back the very next day just to buy that piece. We currently have it hanging in our home and after the recent passing of Katie Joy, every time I look at that piece it reminds me of her sweet spirit. 



What I look forward to most is having a place AFTS can call “home." Having our own space to meet in, plan for the future, host events and provide for our artists to create. That is the dream!



The truth is I only buy my favorites. It is not just the artwork itself that makes you fall in love, it’s knowing the artist’s story that brings out the beauty in a piece. Their lives are not like yours or mine, and yet their life is a reality. One you and I need to embrace and understand. The truth is we are all one step away from their reality. This you will understand if you take the time to truly listen and hear their story.

Volunteer NowVolunteer Now

KATIE JOY KINGDOM, AFTS ARTIST                                             HOWARD E. COOK, AFTS ARTIST       



Kimberly, thank you for sharing your journey and wonderful memories with AFTS. This program would not be where it is today without your unwavering dedication. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! The selfless service of your passion and commitment to AFTS truly is, “The Backbone of Art From The Streets.”

Volunteer Now. Thank you for visiting the Art From The Streets blog, an Austin based nonprofit that provides a safe and encouraging environment in which the positive spirit and creativity for those experiencing homelessness are nurtured through their own therapeutic art-making. If you are looking to further discuss our program, please contact us today for more information.

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