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Trash to Treasure: Tucson woman creates art to spread joy

Mural on Camper in Tucson
Posted at 10:05 AM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 09:51:16-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It started as a way to focus on something positive.

"I started decorating the outside of the camper with things that were inside of me that had not been shared yet," said a Tucson artist named Sarah.

Every color in the rainbow covers Sarah's camper. Much of the mural was created with items found on the street. Sarah, who wished to keep her last name private, became homeless a few months ago. She said art saved her life.

"For me, art is very therapeutic," said Sarah.

Now, she is creating, not just for herself, but for others.

"Hopefulness, light and love go a long way. A lot of people, who live out on the street with me, need all of that," said Sarah.

It's something many homeless are no longer getting because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sister José Women's Center said many of their extracurricular activities were put on hold.

"Before COVID-19 we had a very active center. We had all sorts of classes here," said Sister José Women's Center Program Director, Penny Buckley.

Buckley said the center lost 95% of its volunteers when the pandemic hit. One year later, they're providing only essential services like hygiene, laundry, food and safety.

"Our mission is to help women stay safe," said Buckley.

Sarah wants to see her mural grow.

"I've had a lot of support," said Sarah.

Many have started pitching in by donating supplies and, ultimately, spreading joy.

"One of the things that is hardest about being on the streets is feeling like you don't have a purpose. This is what gave me purpose," said Sarah.

Sarah's ultimate dream is to start an art program for homeless women.

To learn more about Sister José Women's Center, click here.