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Development News

Youthlink fills a void with public art

Youthlink, a nonprofit organization that provides services to homeless youth, is installing an original sculpture outside of its drop-in center in Minneapolis’s North Loop neighborhood.

The organization's Youth Opportunity Center is planning an official unveiling for the sculpture this summer, while the basic installation process will wrap up later this month, according to Francis Roen, director of development for YouthLink.

Youthlink worked with a partner at the center, the Kulture Klub Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that engages homeless youth through art, to come up with the piece. The sculpture is a creative solution to the center’s lack of “a visual marking for the space,” which is somewhat tucked away from view, she says.

Considering the fact that the center tries to help youth navigate various resources, “We were missing a key piece of that, as navigators, if we didn’t have a clear marking for this building,” she says.  

The resulting piece from local artist Randy Walker, titled “Filling the Void,” is a permanent steel frame that allows for constant change. Like many other artworks at the center, the piece was “created hand-in-hand with young people,” she says. Youth at the center and other local artists will continue to put their stamp on it through time. The frame allows for everything from video projection to living vegetation, according to center materials.  

In a prepared statement, Walker adds that the piece is symbolic in that “It provides a foundation, framework and opportunity for those who use it. It is full of potential. It is all about what you do with it.”

Ultimately, Roen hopes the piece conveys that the center is “youth-friendly and a place they can go to receive help.”  

Source: Frances Roen, director of development, Youthlink
Writer: Anna Pratt
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