The doors to Warehouse 416 invite a broad span of light. Greeting visitors as they pass through, Jamie Lee Evans welcomes each as if to her home. To feel welcome, to feel at home, wanted. How differently we understand these terms, based on our earliest memory. The path of light leads to the The Foster Youth Museum’s inaugural exhibit, Lost Childhoods.
Along the brick surfaces, curator/photographer Ray Bussolari presents assemblages of objects marking the experiences of foster youth. They fall into themes of developmental disruption, institutionalization, powerlessness, loss and hope. Within each theme, a constellation of evidence surrounds a large black and white photo, evidence of hurt, invention, aspiration: teddy bears, makeshift shoes, a college degree.
I don’t know what resilience means. But the exhibit asks me to consider it, to move beyond moving on too quickly from pain or the pain of others, to recall those moments of having experienced it, both the pain and the coming through it. Here in this space, apart from the usual bustle of Oakland’s Uptown, I face what is true and exists for so many youth.
Video testimonials from foster youth keep us from objectifying and classifying them as victims in a novel we are not part of.
Conceived by current and former foster youth, FYM is the largest collection of art, artifacts and video portraits about youth experiences in foster care. The exhibit at Warehouse 416 ran every Saturday in March, but the museum is meant to move. It’s available to rent.
Contents: 50 pieces of art, artifacts, and video portraits
Size: Approximately 100 running feet
Weight: 500 lbs.
Category: History & Culture; Social Justice
Security: Varies by installation
Booking: Tour begins March 2015
Community Engagement: Ask about organizing a community conversation.
Fees: Call or email to discuss