Visual Arts

Prax(us) fundraiser tonight to feature art by youth vulnerable to human trafficking

Prax(us) is a Denver-based nonprofit that works with homeless youth who are currently involved in or vulnerable to human trafficking. As such, director Stephanie Bell says, "There's so much pressure for us to be constantly telling their stories."

Art is a way for the youth to tell their stories themselves. "It's really about flipping that power dynamic," Bell explains. "Instead of people coming and telling the youth's stories ... they can talk about what they experienced in their community."

Tonight, that art will be on display at a Prax(us) fundraiser at The Bindery, 2701 Lawrence Street, called Creating Transformation Youth + Art. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The youth created the art at a series of workshops hosted by Prax(us). The workshops were a follow-up to a photo project that Prax(us) youth did last year with an organization that uses photography to empower marginalized populations by giving them cameras to capture their world -- as they see it, not as others do. The same idea is behind giving the youth canvas and watercolors, Bell says.

Tonight's fundraiser will also feature art by community artists and poetry by Art From Ashes, a local organization that offers poetry and spoken-word workshops for kids who are homeless, incarcerated, in the court system or residing in treatment centers. Copies of a 'zine made by Prax(us)'s youth community organizing program, HartCore, called By Us, For Us will also be on display. Tickets can be purchased on a sliding scale of $12 to $25; however, Prax(us) emphasizes that no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar