CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As an organization catering to the needs of LGBTQ youth, Time Out Youth (TOY) stays active, with events and projects for every day of the week. From private events for youth to a Host Home program to help those who may have nowhere to go, TOY always has something big cooking. The latest program begun by the organization started as an art workshop, and will be realized with a showcase running from Feb. 10-14.
The exhibit, called A Mile in My Shoes, features just that — shoes that the young people at the organization have customized to reflect their experiences as LGBTQ youth. Each shoe, like its creator, is unique. The young artists’ lives have shaped the way they express themselves through art, and this creative catharsis provides the youth with an opportunity to share a part of themselves and their identities.
“They have transformed their struggles, triumphs and discoveries into art for each shoe to symbolize their own unique experience,” reads a release by C3 Lab, the host of the event.
Guerilla Poets is another sponsor for the event, and the opening night of the exhibit will feature spoken word performances and live music. Visual, verbal and musical art combine for a multifaceted experience that promises abundant entertainment. Opening night takes place on Friday, Feb. 10 from 7-10 p.m. Some youth artists will be present to share their work.
The shoes were donated and each one was matched by a pair donated to Supportive Housing Communities. The organization aims to “put a permanent end to homelessness and to do so in way that creates dignity, hope and community.” They want “to bring about a change in perception, reality, and in the very lives of the people we serve. The challenging job of helping people who have been kicked to the curb of life matters to us.”
This mission seems parallel to that of the exhibit itself. Perception is a key part of prejudice, and the artists of TOY know this very well. But perhaps, like the Mile in My Shoes exhibit, sharing experiences and artistic expression can influence perception.
Stop by the exhibit at C3 Lab (2525 Distribution Street in Charlotte) to see for yourself.