Thursday, September 17, 2009

Art auction by the homeless, for the homeless

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Saturday, the Urban Ministry Center is hosting their 8th annual "ArtWorks 945" auction. This year's silent auction will feature more than 100 pieces created by area homeless.

Bids will be taken from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Anything not sold in the auction will be available for sale at 7:30 p.m.

Proceeds are split in half, divided evenly between the artist and the center's art program.

Learn more about the event here.

Christopher Johnson always includes a message of self-reliance in his paintings, which isn't easy for a man who has been homeless most of the past two years.

“It's a message of someone who has fallen in life and is getting back up,” he says. “If there's one thing I learned being homeless, it's not to take life for granted.”

Johnson, 30, sees the classes as a way to get his life on track after a series of financial setbacks forced him to live in his '74 pickup.

“Art saved my life,” says Johnson, who signs his paintings as “Casper.”

“Without it, I think I'd probably be locked up for doing God knows what. I've seen things living on the streets, and this gives me a chance to show that world to other people. It also lets me prove that I can do anything I put my mind to.”

That's one of many reasons the Urban Ministry began offering art classes eight years ago. Art director Penny Mann says the classes bring focus and a bit of pride back to worlds that have unraveled. “We're more about changing lives than selling paintings,” she says.

Read more at Charlotte.com.

Here's a 2007 video from the Urban Ministry:

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