On May 22nd several Penny Lane TAY Drop in Center youth from Commerce were guest artists at the “Thriving into Adulthood” event in Pomona. This unique art convening was held at Cal Poly Pomona campus with staff transporting the clients. This amazing opportunity came about following the annual LA County Homeless Youth Count in January when the TAY Centers were contacted by the Conrad Hilton Foundation wanting to survey our clients.
After finding out that several of our TAY clients were artistic the offer was made to have them attend the art convening in May, as a way to showcase their artwork, participate in the day’s events, and possibly sell their artwork to other attendees. The clients were thrilled at this opportunity, and worked hard for over three months to create true masterpieces. The TAY staff scheduled more art activities each month to allow the youth to produce even more pieces of artwork. It became a common sight to see TAY clients painting for hours on Tuesdays and Saturdays in preparation for the May 22nd event.
On the day of the event, the youth were excited, but nervous about how they would be received. Upon arrival at the venue they were treated like guests of honor and shown to their exhibits. Each youth participated in each of the presentations and guest lectures. They asked questions and provided unique insights drawn from their individual upbringings and lived experience. When it came to their art exhibits, each of the youth were mobbed by admirers of their work and interested buyers. Each youth was able to sell artwork that day, and were also given separate compensation for attending.
On the drive back to Penny Lane the youth were vocal about how much fun they had and what a great experience it was. Some only expected to sell one painting, but ended up selling all of them. Others felt validation because there was demand for their artwork and were happy to see their hours of hard work pay off. Their enthusiasm was infectious and in turn motivated, the TAY staff to set a plan to create even more opportunities for clients to create and display artwork in the future.
Check out some more photos of the event below!