The words are scrawled across the collarbone of the aged department store mannequin: "Use me or abuse me." If that invitation isn't compelling enough, a more poetic plea is written on her chest: "Let your imagination release your imprisoned possibilities." Several anonymous artists have answered the call. The mannequin is naked, wigless, chopped at the waist, and gloriously painted.
She's propped in the textile area of the 6,000-square-foot space in downtown Toronto known as Sketch. The loft is filled with collages, paintings, banners, photographs, sculptures, and paint splatters on the floor.
Billed as "a working art initiative for youth ages 15-29 who are street-involved, homeless, and at-risk," Sketch is a place where simple acts of creative play lead to healing, growth, and spiritual transformation.
"Youth who experience street life can be so heavily encumbered with hurt, shame, confusion, and the oppression of poverty, that they often first need to have a sense of safety and restoration, ...1