Dustin Yellin Makes Art With Homeless Kids at Pioneer Works

Dustin Yellin at Pioneer Works with 75 kids for the New York Department of Homeless Services. Photo: Presley Ann Slack, courtesy Patrick McMullan.

This weekend, artist Dustin Yellin, known for supporting aspiring artists (see Dustin Yellin Paints With $10,000 in Shredded Cash for Spring/Break Art Fair), spent the day making art at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, with 75 of New York’s homeless youth, ages 6–12.

The event was organized by Free Arts NYC, which provides arts-based mentor services for the city’s underserved children and families, and the New York City Department of Homeless Services.

“The most inspiring thing to see was the kids’ smiles and for them to be seeing things they’ve never seen,” said Yellin in a statement.

The artist’s work is currently on view at Pioneer Works in the exhibition “Under Construction—New Positions in American Photography,” so the day began with a tour of the show.

Each child was then paired with his or her own mentor, from a group of volunteers who included CNN news anchor Kate Bolduan, handbag designer Monica Botkier, fashion blogger Pari Ehsan, and Art Production Fund co-founder Doreen Remen.

The group paid a visit to Yellin’s studio space at Pioneer Works, where they set to work making artwork of their own, Yellin leading them in creating three projects inspired by his work.

Each child completed his or her own diminutive version of a sculpture from Yellin’s “Psychogeographies” series, taking pictures in a photo booth and creating colorful collaged self-portraits, which were then encased in a Lucite frame.

“This is another fantastic example of the arts community supporting homeless families,” noted Antonio Rodriguez, the director of special events for the Department of Homeless Services, in a press release. “Free Arts NYC continues to be a leader in fostering the creativity of children in shelters and one of our most committed partners.”

Other socially engaged artworks involving the homeless include Andres Serrano’s portrait series of New Yorkers living on the streets (see Andres Serrano Wants New Yorkers To Stop Ignoring the Homeless).

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