RedLine show opens tonight which showcases the art of formerly-homeless Denver residents

Categories: Visual Arts

The "beta stage" show will last for two days. Sevilla Stinnett, right, and Program Manager Michelle Kimball, left.
If most of the artists in Denver could make a living off their artwork, the staff of Denver's restaurants and bars would be getting a big makeover. But sustaining the homeless through art is the idea behind RedLine's Reach Studio. Tonight, pieces from the project will be on display at RedLine with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. and will be on display Friday as well.

Last year, Michelle Kimball and Kate Young, the program managers, created the now renamed Project 2323 after meeting in a Metropolitan State College class. They held weekly art seminars in various mediums at St. Francis Center, reaching about thirty people over the summer of 2010.

Artist Sevilla Stinnett with one of her works.
"We hope to give them an alternative to becoming self-sufficient by giving them a job that's not 9-to-5," Kimball says. Being an artist doesn't end at the canvas or the spinning wheel though. There are other options like graphic design and photography too.

"There's also a lot of job skills involved in art," Young says. "It's not going to be a profitable business for everyone but the skills are skills used throughout life--things like taking criticism, learning how to work independently, being able to look at something and finish something, and acknowledging problems and find solutions."

This year, Kimball and Young are focusing their energy on a few, dedicated residents of Cornerstone Residences, an off-shoot of the St. Francis Center which provides apartments to the formerly-homeless. The show opens in a makeshift space in the entrance hall of RedLine. And due to scheduling conflicts, will only last until Saturday morning.

Young says the project still in the "beta stages" and the duo behind the project have plans to expand the show into the main gallery space, currently occupied by the Design for the Other 90% exhibit.

Seven artists will show tonight. Sevilla Stinnett creates large-canvas works as well as art on furniture. She participated in last year's Project 2323 and hopes to eventually make a living from art. She designed clothes before getting involved with RedLine, but now, she's interested in all aspects of art. She hopes to eventually become a Resident at RedLine.

"I knew I had it in me," she says. "I'm trying to get out of the hobby stage. I'm very hopeful that it will."

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