Of the 2 million homeless youth in America, almost 40 percent identify as LGBTQ, according to the Gay and Lesbian Task Force. To support the local community and raise awareness nationally, Operation Shine America, a Utah Pride Center affiliate, was formed.
OSA created the Creative Minds Campaign in early 2010, in awareness of the needs for things that go beyond physical items. “We decided to give the youth an opportunity to express themselves through art,” says Ginger Phillips, OSA co-founder and Homeless Youth Resource Center art teacher. “Many of the youth have found art to be a great escape and a way to express their emotions.”
Project Shine serves as a window into this. A photo story with quotes accompanies youth artwork; they keep the majority of sales revenue. Powerful names like “Broken” (acrylic and ink) and “Dark Hunger” (acrylic) demonstrate their depth of experience. There’s even a finger painting by a 3-year-old, whose mother is homeless. The collection, composed of more than 40 pieces, is stirring; nearly half have already sold.