The art show provides supportive space and all proceeds go to artists experiencing homelessness

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Inspired by Art From The Streets in Austin, Texas, the Fresh stART program in Oklahoma City has been working for more than a decade to help create safe and creative environments for people experiencing homelessness.

A Homeless Alliance program, where participants can participate in open studio art classes at 1724 NW 4th St., and then an annual art show, which offers artists a place to share and sell their works.

Chief communications officer of The Homeless Alliance Taylor Self said art can be a transformative medium and can impact people who may be in danger or in survival mode.

More: Photos: The 2023 art exhibition from the Homeless Alliance’s Fresh stART program

Carla Templeton buys art for Kathrine Mehl during an art show at the Homeless Alliance Resource Campus in Oklahoma City on Friday.Carla Templeton buys art for Kathrine Mehl during an art show at the Homeless Alliance Resource Campus in Oklahoma City on Friday.

Carla Templeton buys art for Kathrine Mehl during an art show at the Homeless Alliance Resource Campus in Oklahoma City on Friday.

‘It’s a beautiful place to be’

Creating art also provides the label of artist, says Zaneen Fletcher-Hall, volunteer specialist for the Homeless Alliance, allowing people to use that and express another facet of their identity.

Artist Philip Lee Harkness said one day he grabbed a brush from a dumpster and started painting. He said he has been coming to Fresh stART classes since the beginning. He paints landscapes that depict light, clouds and water in a manner reminiscent of Bob Ross, who hosted the television series ‘The Joy of Painting’ until 1994.

“It’s a beautiful place to be, my little world, you know?” Harkness said of his landscape paintings.

Like many artists, he said he paints for the love of the profession.

“I just enjoy doing it,” he said. “There’s so much ugliness in the world, and sometimes you can just paint over it and make something good out of it.”

Art will be sold during an art show Friday at the Homeless Alliance Resource Campus in Oklahoma City.Art will be sold during an art show Friday at the Homeless Alliance Resource Campus in Oklahoma City.

Art will be sold during an art show Friday at the Homeless Alliance Resource Campus in Oklahoma City.

Fresh stART also collaborates with DNA Galleries in the Plaza to present art there and sell it to a wider audience. And mediums are not limited to paintings; some artists on the show created jewelry and photography.

The Homeless Alliance itself said it is taking donations daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and anyone who wants to donate can schedule a time online at https://www.homelessalliance.org/donate to stop by and drop off art supplies. They will need canvases, acrylic paint and air-dry clay, but anything that can be used to create art is welcome.

They can also paint over canvases that already have paint on them, so those are welcome too, Self added.

Artist Rocky Sumpter stands next to his art during an art exhibit May 31 at the Homeless Alliance Resource Campus in Oklahoma City.Artist Rocky Sumpter stands next to his art during an art exhibit May 31 at the Homeless Alliance Resource Campus in Oklahoma City.

Artist Rocky Sumpter stands next to his art during an art exhibit May 31 at the Homeless Alliance Resource Campus in Oklahoma City.

Rocky Sumpter, another artist, uses masking tape to create works with bold lines and striking contrast. He said he finds inspiration in many places.

“I look for every little ornament, every little thing that I can think of. I look in books and things like that and try to come up with ideas,” he said, highlighting the creativity in the trade.

The Fresh stART program offers artists the opportunity to monetize their work, as well as a space to connect with personal creation. Fletcher-Hall said artists sometimes come in to create for themselves rather than for the show, like making earrings so they can have something beautiful.

The 25 to 30 active artists come and go, but they know they can always come back, Fletcher-Hall said.

How to help

To donate time, money or materials to the Homeless Alliance, call 405-415-8410 or go online to https://www.homelessalliance.org/donate.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma Art Show Helps Homeless Community