Fresh stART art show features work by artists experiencing homelessness
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Published: 26-Oct-2020


In November, participating Fresh stART program artists who are experiencing, or have experienced, homelessness will display their work in art show at Paseo Plunge. The exhibit will be available throughout the month.

An opening reception will be held during the Paseo Arts District First Friday Art Walk, on Nov. 6, from 6 - 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
COVID-19 precautions are being taken. Masks are required inside the gallery and distancing will be encouraged.

The featured artists are participating in “Fresh stART,” a program of the Homeless Alliance designed to provide people experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City with a supportive environment for creating art.

In addition to providing a potential source of income, open studio art programs enable people to express themselves creatively, manage emotional issues, develop social skills through positive interaction. with a peer group, develop
confidence and skills transferable to employment, according to Dan Straughan, executive director at the Homeless Alliance. “Art keeps me driven and
keeps me focused,” said Donato, a Fresh stART artist. “It keeps me out of trouble. I’ve been coming to Fresh Start for three years, and each year I’ve gotten better and better.”

The artwork covers a variety of mediums including mixed media, collage, water color, acrylic and colored pencil. Participating Fresh stART artists receive the proceeds from the sale of their artwork.
In addition to providing a potential source of income, open studio art programs enable people experiencing homelessness to express themselves creatively, manage emotional issues, develop social skills through positive interaction with a peer group, and develop confidence and skills transferable to employment.
“Art allows people to temporarily escape their difficult situations and provides an opportunity to interact with peers in a positive environment,” said Straughn. “And when an artist sells something that they created, it really helps build their confidence knowing that someone else values their work.”

The Homeless Alliance is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization, that helps coordinate and improve services for people experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City.  The organization has several housing programs for families with children, veterans and people who are chronically homeless. 
“I like to make art,” said Lee, a Fresh stART artist. “It takes my mind off everything else going on in my life. It is nice and peaceful here.” Lee took an art class with her mom in high school and realized that she loved to paint.
After getting married and having children she didn’t paint for some time until she experienced homelessness. She found her way to the Homeless
Alliance’s Day Shelter where she began attending the Fresh stART studio and has been painting ever since.

As noted on the Paseo Plunge website, Fresh stART hosts studio time twice per week at the Homeless Alliance’s Day Shelter, which serves an average of 350 people each day. Located on the Westtown Homeless Resource Campus, it relies on the community to donate art supplies and funding to operate the program.
For the Day Shelter supply drive, drop off spots at retailers across the Paseo will be accepting only new items from this list: cleaning supplies, pots and pans, bath towels, plastic plates and bowls, silverware, cooking utensils, can openers, trash cans and bags, coffeemakers, crockpots, microwaves, shower curtains and hooks, laundry bags and baskets, rag mops and buckets.
Donations will be rewarded with a coupon for discounts and other items at participating retailers.

The Paseo Plunge, located at 3010 Paseo in Oklahoma City, is open Tuesday through Sunday.
To learn more about the gallery and hours of operation, visit PaseoPlunge.com.
The Homeless Alliance also publishes and provides support and employment opportunities to people who are experiencing homelessness through the sale of its local magazine, The Curbside Chronicle.

For more information about how to help, call the Homeless Alliance at 405-415-8410 or visit homelessalliance.org.

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