Truancy officer Phil Ortega has taken on a unique role in the Rogue Valley community. A few members of Ivory Harp had the privilege to discuss and cover Phil’s work. His family operated program called LIFE Art is doing amazing things for youth who have an artistic knack and don’t have a socially acceptable way to branch out with their gifts. LIFE Art makes it possible to give these participants a way to get their own artwork appreciated and sold in the community, giving them a sense of respectable pride instead of a trespassing and vandalizing ticket for putting their graffiti art on public property. The events held by LIFE Art feature art done by the participating youth and gives the teens a giant 80% of profits made on their art while using the small 20% left to restock the art supplies and setup the next art show.
Phil and his wife have taken on a huge project in doing this, funding all of LIFE Art (art supplies, events, and even purchasing artwork) personally and through fundraising. Talking with Phil he was telling a story about being home in his shop one day and hearing some rattle cans out behind his shop. Thinking the back wall of his shop was being vandalized he hurried out to find a couple teenagers instead painting on an old train car. Instead of turning to the police he decided to take the two down to the craft store and bought each a canvas, and supplies, even a coffee.
After getting back and setting up the art stations each teen painted their own piece, Phil asked how can their art be appreciated on the side of an old train car that will be washed eventually and forgotten. He then offered each one a very profound price for each piece showing to help inspire their own personal worth within their gifts. This was the inspiration for his program LIFE Art.
Ivory Harp will be doing what we can to help LIFE Art grow and be recognized. We want to help bring LIFE Art resources and possibly some sponsorship, if you are willing to help in anyway Ivory Harp can help connect you to the people in charge of this beautiful project. With your help we are hoping to see more of our artistic youth put their gifts to a better cause, to help them learn more and be more. Get involved, join us now!