It was a rainy start to my third day of volunteering. Luckily, I had the perfect rainy day activity scheduled — making art! I spent the morning volunteering in an art class run by the Hart Gallery. Hart Gallery is a nonprofit that offers homeless and non-traditional artists an opportunity to create and sell their artwork. The class was held at the Outreach Housing & Community, which works with homeless and formerly homeless people. Katie, the art teacher with the Hart Gallery, had an abundance of energy, art supplies, and projects. As we set the room up for the art class, she shared with me her passion for this type of therapeutic work.
As class began, I saw how meaningful Katie’s job is and how therapeutic this space is for its participants. As everyone dove into their individual art projects, there was a calming presence in the room. Participants shared stories. Some were as simple as missing the bus that morning and others more complex, delving into the hardships they faced on the streets. While I’ve never been in an art therapy session, the atmosphere in the room made it feel like a safe space to express oneself. I see the value in providing people living in difficult situations with spaces to engage in work they are passionate about and the opportunity to share their compassion for one another. Katie, the Hart Gallery, and the Outreach Housing & Community do wonderful work. I feel so lucky to have joined them today!