Healing Through Art

“This class has been one of the most healing parts of me being here. It’s healed me – mind and soul.” described one guest.

Ever since Santiago Social Hall opened last year, we’ve had our first dedicated art space on campus. Tentatively, guests began showing up for their classes, at first too afraid to put their names on their art. But as they got more comfortable, a transformation began to occur. “It was kind of like rehabilitating myself creatively,” said one guest. She came to Water Street in a dark place painting “vampires and bats,” she says. But now, art has helped her reach a calmer place. She likes to paint the ocean these days. “Because I miss the ocean so much.” she says.

Another guest started intimidated by the idea of sharing his art with the class. Soon he discovered how art brings people together. “We get to share it with each other, and we compliment each other, and it really gives you a boost for the day if you were feeling down.”

In the end though, there’s a deeper reason for art at Water Street. Guests began to realize that by learning about art, they could process their own journeys. “We came to the mission, and we do all these different core classes,” explains one student, “But the art class kind of enables you to really think about what you’ve learned, also how you’ve lived in the past, how you plan to live in the future.” 

Art has provided a deeper way for guests to connect in community and the joyful inner creator God placed in each of them. It’s become a healing, positive environment where all feel welcome and accepted. As another guest said, “If you didn’t tell someone who was new that this was a homeless shelter, I don’t know that you’d see it that way.”

(Unfinished) Portrait of a Classmate

(Unfinished) Stained Glass

Station 7 in a Prayer Walk: Holy Spirit

“This class has been of the most healing parts of me being here. It’s healed me mind and soul, because I can express, I can squeeze my mind out like a sponge and put it on the canvas.”

Galaxy Gazer

Rainbow Island

“I just wanted to do something with colors.”

Less People, More Dogs

“I like animals more than people.”


“It was kind of rehabilitating myself creatively.” “I miss the Ocean so much.”

Handle Righteousness With Care

“The black lines inside represent boundaries within one’s self.”

Station 6 in a Prayer Walk: The Son


Depicts a journey through Water Street starting from top left and ending top right. It shows a tumultuous beginning, ending with hands held together and words from Water Street’s dining hall, “Nourish Your Soul.”

Station 1 in a Prayer Walk: Calling on God to Be Present