Arts Street

Success Stories

ArtLab Student, Denver

ArtLab is a place where you can truly express yourself in many different artistic ways. Coming into ArtLab, I felt unsecured about how it was going to be, how it was going to help me, and how it was going to improve my life in a positive way. As the months went by, I slowly started to open up more and to realize that ArtLab was one of the greatest choices I ever made in my life – ArtLab Student

Background

Inspiration

Outcome

Kiawa, Denver

Arts Street’s goal is to help high-risk youth gain the skills needed for successful careers.

Background

After high school, Kiawa moved between Wal-Mart, a cleaning company, and a telemarketing firm. He bluntly says, “I hated those jobs.”

Inspiration

After finding out that one of Arts Street’s job training programs – Visual Informatics – focuses on web design and programming, video production and publishing, and GIS Dynamic Mapping, Kiawa completed the training

Outcome

Subsequently, Kiawa has been employed full-time at TechniGraphics since 2009.

He is very appreciative of Arts Street and the caring individuals who work there. “Most people wouldn’t believe where I am now considering where I have come from. Arts Street has opened so many doors for me and I see myself going nowhere but up!”

Austin and Garret, Denver

Austin and Garret are brothers who played in the Arts Street Jazz Band. After high school, they both attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.

Background

Following hurricane Katrina, the Richasons transferred to Colorado State University where Austin graduated with a BS in Accounting and Garret with a B.S in Business Management. Today, both are employed at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where Austin is a financial analyst and Garret a realty specialist.

Inspiration

Both the boys have maintained their musical careers during these years. Austin became a mobile DJ at fourteen and subsequently founded his own indie label. His first single has been released with popular acclaim and the complete album is scheduled for release. Garret likewise has continued his life in music, producing his own hip hop beats and musical compositions.

Outcome

One of the aims of Arts-Street was to emphasize that the discipline and skills required in musical performance are directly applicable to success in other areas as the dual careers of these men demonstrate.

Shyla, Denver

A few years ago, Shyla, age 17, had a lot going on in her life, and decided to get a pen and paper out and write some thoughts down.

Background

Ever since then, she has thought poetry was one of her talents. To those who say they can’t write poetry, Shyla says shewould tell them “You can do it. Write your thoughts down, regardless of what you say. Everyone is an amazing poet; they just need to find it within themselves.”

Inspiration

Shyla says “Poetry has made me more divine—I write whatever is on my mind and nobody can judge me. It made me realize that there’s a lot to do with my life. Poetry made me see the power in other people’s words. ”

 

Outcome

“I’m currently an Art from Ashes intern and I’ve been doing it for a while now. I’ve been going to workshops and performances with them. Art from Ashes is a great opportunity for anybody who comes to the workshops. I love writing poetry. I don’t think I can stop regardless of what happens.”

PJ, Denver

PJ is a guest poet and former youth advisor to Art from Ashes’ board of directors.

Background

We first met PJ in 2009, when he was living in residential treatment at Denver Human Services’ Family Crisis Center (FCC), because of his own mental health struggles as well as lack of a safe and supportive environment in which he could live with his family.

Inspiration

PJ left FCC in 2010 and went on to an independent living situation; became an Art from Ashes guest poet and board advisor, representing our agency to the community at large.

Outcome

Today he is a well-developed young adult, with his GED complete, enrolled in college classes, working as a youth advocate with the Guardian Ad Litem’s office, married, and the father of a beautiful baby girl. On his arm he has tattooed “Art from Ashes,” because he says that this agency saved his life.