An overlooked demographic in our city is being highlighted this week in a unique and touching festival downtown—homeless youth.
HUMAN is the title of a new and gripping arts festival showcasing art created primarily by homeless youth in the Salt Lake community. Founded by a group of high school students through the Sustainable Startup’s Idea Factory program, this group of passionate teenagers used their unique opportunity to turn the spotlight on another population who they saw needed attention and help.
“We decided to do an art gallery showcasing the homeless youth population. We were so passionate about wanting to help these teens. We are all teenagers and we could relate,” explained HUMAN co-founder Gregoria Alegria.
The festival is a one day event on Saturday, Sept. 30 hosted at the Gateway. “The purpose is to focus on their art and show how they also have talent. It’s not just us that are talented. They are also human,” said Alegria.
Partnering with the Volunteers of America, HUMAN’s founders have sought out youth to participate and have provided opportunities for them to create pieces for the show. “We partnered with the VOA during their art time on Fridays and Wednesday. We were able to go with them and we brought these ideas with us,” said Alegria. “We were given a donation from SoulKix shoes and we began to paint shoes with sharpies and acrylic paint.”
A diverse array of art will be displayed at the festival in addition to the painted shoes. However, the crowning piece of art is a large banner that all the volunteers and youth collaborated on. “We made a mural that everyone contributed to with beautiful flowers and pictures of Dory, and a lot of other things. It just shows everyone uniquely expressing themselves,” said Alegria.
The festival will display art created by the youth. There will also be artists and music in attendance.
Students should be interested in attending if only to enhance and open their understanding of our community. “A lot of people don’t know that there are homeless youth here and we want people to know that they are there and they need our support,” said Alegria.
Brandishing the slogan, “We believe Art has the Power to create a Level Ground in our Community,” HUMAN and its founders are on a mission to prove that we are all the same. “No one can distinguish anyone,” said Alegria.
“These kids need as much support and attention as possible,” Alegria explained. “Even if you can’t come to this one day event, reach out to help volunteer and help these guys feel noticed and supported.”
HUMAN will take place on Sept. 30, 2016 at 3 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Gateway.