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Local art show benefits community’s homeless

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OKLAHOMA CITY- This week, many people in the community headed downtown to purchase some works of art, but there’s something special about the pieces they got to take home. They were all created by people who have experienced homelessness.

“I didn’t even know I could do it. I just picked it up one day and I’ve been hooked ever since,” artist Phillip Lee said.

The artwork featured covers a variety of mediums including water color, mixed media, acrylic, collage and colored pencil.

“This particular model took me close to nine months,” artist Willis Gabitt said.

Gabitt prefers to create 3-dimensional art, like a model ship.

“I try taking it one step farther by saying, ‘What would this look like if it was brought out, to form, to shape?’” Gabitt said.

The featured artists participate in The Homeless Alliance’s Fresh Start program, where all art supplies are donated by the community.

“It’s been great to have the community come out and visit and meet the artists and get to know them on a personal level and they can see that they do have something to contribute to the community,” Homeless Alliance Deputy Director Kim Woods said.

Fresh Start has studio time for the artists to come in, paint and create twice a week. Then they host art shows just like this one, 3 or 4 times a year.

“If you’re down in the dumps and need some help, this is the place to come,” Lee said.

The artists receive 80% of the proceeds from the sale of their artwork, and the remaining 20% is kept by the studio to offset costs.

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