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The mission of Art From the Streets is to provide a safe and encouraging environment in which the positive spirit and creativity for those experiencing homelessness are nurtured through their own artistic expression. These artistic endeavors form a pathway to self- determination by means of the sense of achievement, social connections, and income generated through the pursuit of their art.

Through its 28 year history, Art From the Streets has helped hundreds of homeless individuals improve their circumstances - literally and figuratively - by providing them the means to make art. We believe that anyone can make art, and that making art is good for everyone. Art From the Streets' volunteers hold four times a week Open Studio sessions where people who are homeless or formerly homeless can come to paint and draw. Then we help them sell what they've made - primarily by producing an annual show and sale of the resulting work, with proceeds of sales going to the artists.

Participants gain access to their creativity, and for some - the determination and discipline necessary to explore it. The personal relationships formed in the weekly studio sessions are invaluable additions to their lives. In many cases the time spent with the volunteers and other artists in the open studio sessions are their only positive human interactions of the day. There is a feeling of pride and self-worth experienced at the annual show, where the usual social hierarchy gets turned on its head, transforming them from faceless homeless people in need of help into the stars of the show. There is the sense of purpose that brings them to the open studio week after week, and the satisfaction from working hard at something and ending up with tangible evidence of that effort - a wall full of art that they themselves created. Visitors who might otherwise never have spoken to a homeless person engage with them at the show. The interest and appreciation expressed by the patrons gives the artists a sense of worth - that they have something of value to offer the world. This means as much as the money they earn.

AFTS started with 3 friends coming together to create with the homeless in our community. They partnered with one of our Austin, TX homeless shelter to provide an opportunity for their clients to create. As the program grew and the shelter needed their space regularly we connected with a local church and was able to acquire space to have twice a week afternoon Open Studios. As of 2020 we now have 4 afternoons for the homeless and at risk to create and still partnering with the local church and nonprofit for a facility. We have reached out to community partners to offer enrichment opportunities for our artist in our local museums. We have created an online gallery where prints and merchandise are sold. We have implemented a mural program so our artists can gain creative income and have at least 5 art shows within the community throughout the year as well as the big Annual Show and Sale which is where we started.

AFTS has two BIG dreams for the future - to acquire a space full time in downtown Austin to provide a daily Open Studio, technique instruction, art shows, sculpture, ceramics and much more to the homeless and at risk in our area. Our second dream is to create AFTS affiliates. We want to share what we do with other communities. Our board is working diligently on these strategic goals. At this time we are only in Austin, TX but so look forward to be able to offer what we have learned to others. We raise monies through our website, local grants from foundations, fundraisers and generous donors. First and foremost we want to support the artists who are homeless and at risk. THANK YOU so much for your inquiry and we look forward to reaching out in the future as we achieve our goals and working with others who have our similar passion.