Upcoming Event with Art from Ashes: The Running of the Gays
A preview by Gwen Gray
If you’re not familiar with Denver’s award-winning youth support program Art from Ashes, let me give you a quick rundown.
A finalist for the prestigious National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, Art from Ashes has been called “one of the top arts and humanities-based programs in the country.”
Led by founder and executive director Catherine O’Neill Thorn, the non-profit designs original poetry and creative workshops and takes them to schools, treatment centers and drop-in youth centers for the benefit of children and young adults who often have had little or no previous interaction with the arts. The programs give young people a chance to write about and verbalize their experiences in front of a small, supportive audience — often giving words to difficult or traumatic life events.
Art from Ashes’ social media director, Rick Strandlof, says, “Language and creativity are an essential notion and makeup of what it is to be human. When you allow young people to access this at a formative age, they can carry it with them into their young adulthood, and their adulthood.”
Of the empowering experiences he has witnessed during Art from Ashes workshops, Strandlof adds, “To have someone stand in front of you and say, tell me your story, let me be your witness — that’s a very powerful act. Young people become the masters of their own story. You cannot change the facts, what has happened, what is happening, and what may happen, but you can change how you respond to it.”
Running of the Gays: September 7, 2014
The organization’s upcoming event, Running of the Gays, is perhaps the most fun way to get to know Art from Ashes better.
Now in its fifth year, the event brings together supporters from all walks of life for a three-block “marathon in heels.” The event starts at Steuben’s, outrageous costumes and footwear are the norm, and the fabulous after-party at X Bar features celebrity drag queens and a delicious assortment of food and drinks.
In response to the fact that LGBTQ youth are at a much greater risk for homelessness, violence, suicide and sexual exploitation, Art from Ashes directs all proceeds of the Running of the Gays to creative programs at Rainbow Alley, a LGBTQ youth drop-in center. The facility provides health services, counseling, events, activities, and resources for Denver’s young LGBTQ community.
So pick out your most comfortable — or colorful — heels, sign up here and get your trot on this Sept. 7. Runners can register with a $35 donation and are encouraged to gather sponsor donations from friends, family, employers and coworker, who can donate here.