Out of nowhere - an art outreach studio for Winnipeg's homeless youth

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Shilton, Meredith
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Contemporary outreach services focus on prevention as a means to ending homelessness (Averill, Keys, Mallet, & Rosenthal, 2010; Gaetz, 2010; Higgitt, Ristock & Wingert, 2005). As a result, services are commonly aimed at youth to provide alternatives to street-life before negative patterns are ingrained; the emotional effects of homelessness are also starting to be addressed. Drop-in facilities are proving useful by responding with greater flexibility toward the inconsistent lives of homeless people (Bantchevska, Dashora, Garren, Glassman, Slesnick & Toviessi, 2008). Art programming offers an environment addressing both emotional concerns and technical skill development (Higgitt, Ristock & Wingert, 2005). In Winnipeg, MB, urban, youth street-culture has responded positively to drop-ins embodying Hip-Hop culture as the unifying theme (B. Veruela, personal communication, November 7, 2012). Hip-Hop provides a context for art and learning that incorporates belonging and growth - the identifiers of a playful space. Play spaces offer a positive environment for dealing with emotionally charged topics such as homelessness (Apter, 1991; Kerr, 1991). This project presents the adaptive reuse of one of Winnipeg’s industrial buildings as a modern drop-in centre where emotional care for youth is accommodated through play theory.
interior design, homelessness, youth, Winnipeg, art, up-cycling, prevention