Art Reception and Performance
Friday, November 1, at 7 pm
City Center Art Lounge
A reception with the youths (18-24 years old) in the Art Program of Larkin Street Youth Services will feature visual arts as well as performances of both poetry and music. These young people are the featured artists for the month of November.
City Center is very happy to offer this art show and celebration of artworks by these at-risk youths from the Tenderloin. The contact between City Center and Larkin Street Youth Services began with a program from the Outreach Department at Zen Center, which began offering a program of meditation and stress reduction to the staff about two years ago, and then to the youths over the past year. Out of this our connections have grown, and we are now proud to present to the public this showing of the artwork and talents of these young people. We invite you to the celebration and to meet these talented artists.
The Art Program at Larkin Street Youth Services has been developing for the past 25 years as the agency has grown to continue serving the homeless and runaway adolescent and young adult population from across the nation, as well as from other countries and cultures.
Many of the traditional arts of painting, drawing and bookbinding are complemented by video and music performance workshops also. There is a lyric writing workshop and a recording arts program wherein client youths may develop their music or spoken word art and perform it at open mic nights as well as the annual Performing Arts Night. That event occurs in venues that are public and videotaped and recorded.
An emphasis is made to meet the youths where they are and encourage them to express themselves. In all manner of the arts, the tone is positive, inclusive and inviting; and though instructional, the guidance offered is always non-judgemental.
A youth may access our services in different ways, from a day program of initial contact to full residential services with case management and educational and employment services. The Art Program offers an opportunity to practice an art in a manner that is self-reliant and empowering.
From engagement services to an exiting of one of the residential programs with outcomes that speak to effort and courage, the Art Program serves to be an outlet for the client youths in this challenging phase of their lives. Given the contemplative nature that art making instills in the individual, art practice is often a quiet in the storm for the youths—and a significant break from the turbulence of their lives thus far.
In a like manner, their engagement with the arts can run the gamut from caprice to thoughtful, even ponderous reflection. The interiority of art practice can be, for some clients, a safe place that is made through practice; and to which one may return. So then, as it may be with an acceptance of the elements of thoughtful intent similar to Zen practice, consider the youths of Larkin Street Youth Services as they present their artworks here at the San Francisco Zen Center.
Many thanks to the Larkin Street Art Instructors, Meredith Connor and Brian Kolm; to the San Francisco Zen Center for the gracious support and encouragement to show the art here this autumn season; and ever, to the youths who share their visions here now.
Liaison for Arts & Cultural Development
Art Program Manager