A Powerful Force: Working to End Homelessness Through Art

The Walt Disney Family Museum is pleased to announce its 2019 community access exhibition, A Powerful Force: Working to End Homelessness Through Art. Featuring original artwork created by young people experiencing homelessness, the exhibition’s title was inspired by Walt Disney himself: “There is great comfort and inspiration in this feeling of close human relationships and its bearing on our mutual fortunes—a powerful force to overcome the tough breaks which are certain to come for most of us from time to time.”

A Powerful Force will feature artworks created by homeless youth with three greater San Francisco Bay Area partner organizations: Raphael House, Larkin Street Youth Services, and Youth Spirit Artworks. These nonprofit organizations help at-risk youth and their families achieve independence by providing career-building skills, educational programs, and safe housing.

“This project is a powerful force because it brings together community organizations that are making a great difference for a population that needs it,” says A Powerful Force curator, Antonia Dapena-Tretter. “Through its global audience, The Walt Disney Family Museum has the rare ability to raise exposure of some of our community’s most vulnerable residents.”

Many of the artworks featured in this exhibition were created over a four-month period, with Dapena-Tretter and The Walt Disney Family Museum’s School and Outreach team providing free, on-site educational art programming for participating youth, ages 6 to 25. Over 35 students were encouraged to tell their stories and personal journeys through their work—some of which was also created outside of the museum workshops—offering them a platform for self-expression, growth, and connection.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, a fundamental component of The Walt Disney Family Museum’s mission has been to foster creative growth and offer personalized educational programs for the next generation of artists. “A Powerful Force is fourth in an annual exhibition series that takes inspiration from the vision of our museum’s founder and Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, who championed arts access as a vital component of the museum’s ongoing commitment to community engagement,” says Kirsten Komoroske, Executive Director of The Walt Disney Family Museum. “We are proud and honored to provide a space for underrepresented members of our local community to showcase their artwork, while highlighting the work and accomplishments of three impressive social impact organizations.”

During the most recent 2017 California count, 15,458 young people up to age 24 were found to be homeless and unaccompanied in the state. California alone accounted for approximately one-fifth of all homeless public school students in the U.S. in 2017 and has ranked 48th of the 50 states in success on issues of child homelessness.

A Powerful Force will be on view from September 25, 2019 through January 6, 2020 at The Walt Disney Family Museum. This unique exhibition will be offered free to the public, ensuring that the opportunity to view the diverse collection of work is open to everyone.