Art installation brings attention to homeless youth

Teens who are living in shelters around Atlanta got to showcase what home meant to them at ChopArt’s second Home Improvement Art Installation on June 30 at the Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery in Atlanta.

The visual arts installation uses dining room furniture to display what a home means to them. Thirty homeless teens used furniture as their canvases to paint a depiction of memories from home, perceptions of their current circumstances and aspirations for future homes.

“This idea was birthed with the thought that most of us take our stability for granted. Our ability to sleep in a bed, eat on a plate, turn on our TV or even have the option to sit around the dining room table for a meal if we choose to,” said ChopArt Founder Malika Whitley. “These are things many experiencing homelessness crave and reflect upon. We wanted to give the public an opportunity to exist inside the minds of our teens at this middle ground of what is normal to them and what it means to our teens.”

ChopArt is a local organization providing homeless youth with arts expression while building community engagement, lifestyle development and art exploration locally and internationally. The nonprofit works with shelters, resource organizations, arts organizations and community members to provide a space for creativity, coping and healing for homeless youth.

Most importantly, organizers said, it helps them to realize that their voice matters.

Volunteers make ChopArts programs successful. People can give back in two ways: volunteering and donating. It takes $103 to serve one teen anywhere in the world.

ChopArt is always looking for volunteers who can dedicate time at summer camps and in shelters to develop healthy and empowering relationships with teens. The organization also continues to spread its word and impact through art shows like Home Improvement. But the message, to Whitley, is bigger.

“For every art show, we hope our teens will find a more confident and healed sense of self. This is the first art show where our teens will split the profits evenly with all of them benefitting. So we hope they’ll understand that they are all apart of one community and continue to build their relationships with each other,” she added.

The nonprofit’s programs serve an average of 10,000 youth per year in Atlanta, New Orleans, Hyderabad, India and Accra, Ghana.

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Who’s doing good?Each Tuesday, we write about charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To suggest an event for us to cover, contact Devika Rao at