Representing Youth Homelessness Through Visual Expression

Will Mahan, Scarlet Staff

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On November 20, Worcester PopUp hosted Worcester Youth Action Board’s newest event, “Representing Youth Homelessness Through Visual Expression.” The event showcased the work of young adults and teenagers who have experienced homelessness in local communities. The organization hopes to advocate through artwork to combat homelessness in Worcester and across the country.

As it was the week of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness, the event was a powerful way to highlight the struggles that so many people, young and old, face due to homelessness.

Led by Chris Bates, the Worcester Youth Action Board’s mission is to help combat the stigma surrounding homelessness, while also lifting up the voices of those who have experienced or are still experiencing homelessness.

Many notable figures spoke at the art exhibit including, Wocester Mayor Joseph Petty, Worcester Youth Action Board Representative Chris Bates, Worcester Creative Hub Co-Founder Laura Marrota, and Wocester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. 

The showcase featured artwork by several Wocester residents including, Dilon Mastorio, Allie Miner, Chris Bates, Calvin Jones, Chris McCart, Jeffry Garcia, Assata Kamara, and Sam DeLuca. 

Chris Bates articulated the event’s purpose by saying, “We hope today our art exhibit will show the strength and resilience in these young peoples’ stories.” 

Much of the artwork focused on the hope that exists even in the most dire situations. Along with the artwork, the event also showcased the stories of young people who had experienced homelessness.

“Being homeless as a young adult was traumatic and caused me a lot of distress,” explained one artist. 

The event aimed to provide visibility to these young people, and it was also a valuable opportunity for them to share their lived experiences with others. 

“Our mission here at Creative Hub is to make sure access to art is equilibrium, and that every human has the chance to express themselves through art,” said Laura Marotta, co-founder of the Worcester Creative Hub. “Sometimes we can only express things through color, shape, or line. It is a very powerful moment to see this happen, and we are so proud to be a part of it. I hope that we at Creative Hub can be a part of more important events like this going forward.”