North Loop youth center unveils new sculpture

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May 29, 2013
By: Gabrielle Martinson
"Filling the Void," a sculpture by Randy Walker, is a recent addition to the Youth Opportunity Center.
Submitted image
Gabrielle Martinson
Homeless young people at Youth Opportunity Center will add to sculpture by artist Randy Walker

NORTH LOOP — Local homeless youth will have the opportunity to take ownership of a sculpture that is being placed outside the Youth Opportunity Center at YouthLink, a nonprofit providing basic needs and opportunities to homeless young people.

Local artist Randy Walker created the steel sculpture, “Filling the Void.” The young participants of Kulture Klub, a non-profit partner of the Youth Opportunity Center designed to introduce homeless youth to art, will be in charge of adding their own artistic additions to the sculpture over time.

Jeff Hnilicka, executive director of Kulture Klub, said youth would be able to incorporate any type of art they want into the piece, from photography to plant life. Hnilicka said young participants are working with Walker to create a string piece that will serve as the sculpture’s first installation. The installation will begin on June 10 and will be finished by June 21.

Hnilicka said the sculpture will not only give young people an outlet to express themselves, but will serve as a marker for the Youth Opportunity Center, located at 41 N. 12th St.

“It’s a hard building to find and it’s a hard front door to find, so I think this sculpture will really mark it,” Hnilicka said.

Walker is currently taking the artistic lead on the project, but Hnilicka said Walker will let young members of Kulture Klub take the lead come fall, and will act as more of a coach and supporter for their artistic endeavors. A new artist will be selected to coach the project in the spring.

Francis Roen, director of development for YouthLink, said the project will give young people more responsibility and will allow them some ownership of the center.

“(The sculpture) sort of marks it as their home, their space,” Roen said.