On Monday, Nov. 19, a Chicago group for homeless youth ages 16 to 24 will stage its yearly arts showcase for the public, featuring visual and performing arts.
Elastic Life: Climbing Out of the Abyss will be hosted by the Second Unitarian Church, 656 West Barry Ave. The 7 p.m. show is free and open to the public.
The show is led by youth active in HELLO, a weekly group for homeless youth launched seven years ago by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and The Night Ministry. Lakeview Action Coalition now assists the group, which meets Tuesday evenings at the Broadway Youth Center.
Highlights will include visual arts, spoken word, a poetry slam, and a tribal drum chorus. Night Ministry case manager Anne Holcomb first organized HELLO and serves as advisor for the show.
“A lot of youth are drawn to the HELLO group because of the art show, and then they stick,” Anne said. “Many of the youth in the group have never had the opportunity for anyone to listen to them or to clap for them. They never went to prom, have never been in choir, and never participated in a school play. To be a part of the art show and then get affirmation and applause for something they have done – it’s a really amazing experience for them.”
In 2009, then-Mayor Daley attended the art show. The youth asked Mayor Daley to meet with them, and their meeting two months later led to discussions creating a citywide task force on homeless youth, and the first overnight shelter for youth. Other attendees have included State Rep. Greg Harris, staff from U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s office, city commissioners and their deputies, and several high ranking officials from the Chicago Transit Authority.
Members of the media interested in setting up interviews with staff and youth from the show should contact Jessica L. Howe, media relations coordinator at The Night Ministry, prior to the show. Jessica can be reached at (773) 506-6005.