The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Youthville youths' coffee artwork shown at Starbucks

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  • You could say it was a coffee cure.

    With the strong aroma of coffee wafting in the air, Youthville students giggled and grinned with pride Thursday night as patrons of the Starbucks at Central and Tyler streets in Wichita browsed and bid on their pieces of coffee artwork.

    Youthville residents created artwork using Starbucks coffee. The coffeehouse created a Turkish blend using different varieties of their coffee, and the children used different consistencies of the mixes as paint. Markers or crayons were used to finish the artwork.

    Youthville’s Expressive Arts Program and Starbucks cooperated to sponsor the art auction and a coffee tasting Thursday.

    A percentage of the proceeds raised from the auction will go to the students, and the rest will go to buy supplies for the Expressive Arts Program.

    Youthville residents come to the residential psychiatric facility because they can’t live safely in their homes. The average stay is a few months.

    Talissa, a 14-year-old Youthville resident, drew inspiration for her artwork, which depicted an elephant, from a Starbucks label.

    “It really helps me,” she said of the Expressive Arts Program. “It helps me get out of the cottage and express myself. With art, I can do what I want to do.”

    Coffee art was a new experience for most of the students.

    “Everyone was spilling coffee everywhere and painting with paint brushes. It was really fun," she said.

    Talissa has been at Youthville for four months. She hopes she will be leaving with the next two weeks.

    Talissa said her involvement with the Expressive Arts Program, including the Starbucks show, has given her more positive public attention than she has ever had before.

    “I have never been out in the public like this,” she said. “I have never been in the newspaper. It is really exciting.”

    Megan, a 17-year-old Youthville resident, created a coffee cat for the show.

    “I think it was really fun and cool that we got to use coffee,” she said.

    Megan said she always has enjoyed art and has found the Expressive Arts Program especially helpful during her time at Youthville.

    “I get to express myself. I get a chance to sow people who I am,” she said.

    Forty-five students, ranging in ages from 9 to 18, participated in the coffee project, and 21 students’ pieces were selected for the show.

    “As with all our projects, we want to give the kids we care for a sense of much-needed self-esteem,” said Micala Gingrich-Gaylord, Youthville expressive arts worker.

    Sara and Paul Miller of Wichita mingled among the coffee creations Thursday night while sipping coffee. Miller is a family support worker at Youthville.

    He said he thought it was interesting to see the different perspectives the children took with their artwork, and he thinks the expressive arts program is a valuable piece of the Youthville program.

    “It is amazing. For kids who could care less about a lot of things, this gives them something to put their hearts into and keeps them going,” Paul Miller said.