Once a month, on the fourth Saturday, Art & Acceptance holds our Community Meeting. After dinner, volunteers and staff sit down with guests to discuss the program. This is a chance for us to offer new ideas and for guests to give feedback about the program, and share what they’d like to see. We do our best to listen and respond to what they want.
Not all of the Art & Acceptance participants are street homeless. Some are couch-surfing, some in transitional living programs, and some are in temporary shelters. While we are overjoyed that the activities we provide are compelling, we learned that our guests can get so wrapped up in whatever they’re working on that they lose track of time. So, we started providing timely curfew reminders to our guests who request them. Now we’re taking this further by shifting the whole night to one earlier, allowing our marginally housed guests to get to their shelter in plenty of time. Starting July 6th, program hours will begin at 6:00 pm. That same day, we are extending our age range to folks up to age 29. On their 25th birthday, young adults experiencing poverty and homelessness in our City lose access to an incredible number of resources. We won’t let Art & Acceptance be one of them.
Some ideas we hear at Community Meeting are easy to realize, like creating a more café-like experience at the monthly Open Mic night, now a coffee-house atmosphere featuring intimate circles of chairs. Or making space for more physical activities, for those who prefer to enjoy and relax using movement. Other requests take more time, like creating relationships with more partnering agencies to table and offer their services. When our guests ask for something, we listen. This space is for them.
Art & Acceptance will also celebrate Pride Month in a number of ways.
On Friday, June 14th, Art & Acceptance participants will join the community for our free showing of full-length film Saturday Church. We’re excited for them to see the musical drama based on the music, dance, and safe space they create every week.
The program’s annual Pride celebration will take place on June 22nd, during regular program hours. Sue Lopez, our Arts Engagement Specialist, always goes above and beyond creating a festive atmosphere for our special events. With great solidarity, she intrepidly sources donated supplies, recruits extra volunteer time, and puts in many hours herself off the clock to make these nights especially joyous… our Pride party most of all. Then, on June 30, Art & Acceptance guests will walk in the Pride march, together with members of the parish and the Diocese.
We believe it is vital to celebrate Pride in our identities together. After all, the vast majority of Art & Acceptance participants are homeless simply due to their sexual or gender identity.
We are proud of our guests, who show such resiliency, community spirit, and capability for self-expression. We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our friends from the parish and wider community who have done so much to show up for our Saturday night family, with your donations of time, treasure, and talent. We appreciate you.