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The Visible Invisible to empower homeless youth in latest art show

Jillian Davis, a member of Visible Invisible, holds the flyer for the fourth-annual art show. Credit: Amal Saeed | Lantern Reporter

Art is a powerful medium, and the Visible Invisible is using it to challenge perceptions of youth homelessness through its fourth-annual show Saturday.

The Visible Invisible is a student organization aimed to raise awareness and empower homeless youth through the arts and friendships. “The Art Show by All, for All” will have art pieces from homeless young adults from the Columbus area.

We hope to not only spread awareness about homelessness in the youth population but to provide an opportunity and space for their work to be shown,” said Jillian Davis, a member of the Visible Invisible and a second-year in art history.

This student organization works in collaboration with Star House, a drop-in center to help the youth experiencing homelessness. Twice a week the Visible Invisible visit the Star House to get supplies and facilitate creativity through art.

Juli Sasaki, the president and founder of the Visible Invisible, has been working with Star House since her second year at Ohio State.

The summer after my freshman year I went into the Star House, which at that time was just a college house and you couldn’t even tell it was a center,” said Sasaki, a fourth-year in arts management.

“It’s really easy to think of [youth experiencing homelessness] as students if you’re not talking to them, if you’re not finding out about what’s happening in their life. This disconnect is what inspired me to learn more.”

The art show is held in Knowlton Hall, and this year’s theme is identity.

The show’s flyer originally included the description “Featuring art by youth in the Star House, a drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness.” However, one youth with art featured in the show didn’t want homelessness to define her artistry.

After that moment Sasaki experienced an internal conflict to try and resolve that issue. From that the theme of identity was chosen. The Visible Invisible hopes to showcase the experiences that have impacted the youth’s identity beyond their experience with homelessness.

After four years, the art show has grown and developed to a larger scale. A new feature this year will include a collaborative art piece called the Hall of Mirrors. Mirrors will be lined along the walls, and the audience is encouraged to draw themselves. Afterward, they should look back at the mirror and see what they look like versus how they perceive themselves.

Another new feature this year is incorporating fashion into the art show and using a zine. A zine, short for magazine, will include the art pieces presented at the show and backgrounds of the artists.

It’s such a cool experience to be able to connect with the youth and they’re all so talented,” said Davis. “It’s very different from what you might encounter in this bubble of campus.”

During the event there will be opportunities to donate to Star House and the artists. Through a silent auction, 80 percent of the profit will go to the artist and 20 percent will go to Star House.

The Visible Invisible Identity art show will be at 6 p.m. Saturday at Knowlton Hall School of Architecture.

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