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

Categories: Visual Arts
Richard Beck calls his art his new addiction.
Just like any show, the artists hope to sell their work. "They're giving me the opportunity for my first exposure," Richard "Gonzo" Beck says. He's one of the most prolific artists in the program and began practicing art seriously about four years ago, starting while writing letters to his girl in prison. "It's easier for me to express myself through drawings than it is in words."

In order to get more supplies, he figured out when area printing presses tossed out the usable trash and began scavenging from their dumpsters. Eventually, he built relationships with the print shop owners and they know to expect him.

"There's a lot of work out there for some people to do. Art is an alternative to almost everything," Young says. "When you're operating a little differently from the norm, you need something that will allow you to be that way. And art is probably the only place where it's encouraged to be a little different."

Reach Studio's programming included a visit to the Denver Art Museum and Young says that the participating artists were especially inspired by the African and Renaissance art on display. "I think being able to see what can be produced was a point of inspiration for them to create," she says.

Mud also inspired Donna Garrett to focus more on ceramics. "The way she put it, she says it was really nice to be able to do something with her hands that wasn't about surviving day-to-day," Kimball says. "There's something about the outlet and the materials involved that's really cathartic."

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