Art Show Helps Locals Overcome Homelessness
OKLAHOMA CITY - A special art show is happening at the Homeless Alliance. It is the result of months of hard work by artists who are impacted by homelessness.
The Fresh stART program not only helps the artists forget about their homelessness momentarily. Selling their pieces also helps them overcome their situation.
Twice a week, the Homeless Alliance hosts studio time at the Day Center. Regulars like Rocky Sumpter have spent years refining their craft.
“I use all different kinds of mediums,” he said, “anything that I can think of, buttons, earrings, whatever I can find on the ground, pieces of metal.”
Falisha Baxter puts less forethought into her pieces, allowing her art to happen organically.
She said, “I just basically let the brush tell me what to do.”
Each artist has his or her own distinct style, but the purpose is the same. For a few precious hours a week, they can forget the hardships they face on the streets.
“It’s like you open a door and it’s a whole new world out there,” said Falisha.
The result of their hard work is a room full of beautiful pieces, with a wide range in complexity as well as price point. The artists themselves get to decide what to charge, and they retain 80% of the profits.
“I love the money,” Rocky said, “but it’s really all about the art, keeping my mind and my attitude straight.”
Rocky is just one success story. He brought 60 pieces to the show. He is no longer homeless, but his mission now is to help his wife Lee and his friends achieve their own goals through art.
He said, “It’s therapeutic for me, and I’m not on the streets anymore. I have a job, have a car, have a home, have a girl, so everything’s finally on track and I owe a lot of it to my artwork.”
The Fresh stART program continues to look for partnerships with local art galleries to show the pieces, as well as donations of art supplies.
The art show at the Homeless Alliance will be open again on Monday, March 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the corner of N Virginia Avenue and NW 4th Street.