About Art Start

In the spring of 1991, a handful of artists came together to make art with homeless kids in New York City. Over the next 23 years, Art Start has become an award-winning nationally recognized model for using the creative process to save lives and transform communities. Through daily creative arts workshops, Art Start connects with youth who are living in shelters, transient on the streets, involved in open court cases, navigating teen pregnancy or surviving with parents in crisis. Though they face many obstacles, Art Start youth have dreams that far surpass their circumstances. Art Start provides kids with opportunities for success by giving them tools, structure, support and most importantly, a chance to be heard.

This year the 2014 Portrait Project will connect with homeless, foster and formerly incarcerated NYC teens to develop an exciting and empowering glimpse into their dreams. Through visual art and creative writing workshops, in-depth video interviews, professional photo shoots and elaborate composite imaging, youth will first imagine themselves without barriers then see their selves living it, in a large-format photographic print. With photography, wardrobe, hair and make up, prop styling, set design and composite retouching, a photographic tableau will be created for each youth so they can experience the power and permanence of seeing themselves at the highest expression of themselves.

My involvement

I was lucky enough to be contacted about donating an image of mine through Image Brief to help with this years Portrait Project. I provided one of my NCY landscapes shot while on holidays which a portrait of an aspiring nurse was going to be retouched in on the scene to give optimism and hope to the the individual which I hope it did.

This is a wonderful program and I hope something of a similar nature could happen in Australia in the future.

For more information and Contacts:


Johanna De Los Santos, Art Start’s Executive Director / johanna@art-start.org 212-460-0019

Natalie Brasington, Photographer & Art Start Board Member / Project Producer natalie@art-start.org 718-213-0846

Heather Newberger, Anyway MGMT Head of Styling division/ heather@anywaymgmt.com 212-343-3037

YouthOffTheStreetImages shared by Ken Pao at Image Brief.