Planned Parenthood to share art and stories by Arizona youth for First Friday

The gallery on Roosevelt and Fifth streets partnered with Four Chambers Press to bring together the work of writers and artists. (Sydnee Schwartz/DD)

(Sydnee Schwartz/DD)

Art will combine with sex education at Planned Parenthood Arizona’s art show Friday. The show is for youth by youth, displaying art and sharing stories submitted by teens over topics like sexual health, identity and Planned Parenthood’s influence on Arizona youth.

The show, Speak Your Truth: Planned Parenthood Arizona Youth will be held at Made  art boutique. Deja Foxx, a Planned Parenthood youth director, said many of the youth directors at Planned Parenthood Arizona are artistic and involved in the art community.  Foxx said the directors believe an art outlet allows teens to tell their story in a creative and engaging way and highlight Planned Parenthood’s impacts Arizona youth.

“We all focus on diversity, inclusion and the best way to do that is to highlight our story,” Foxx said.

According to Foxx, the youth directors work to be representatives of their patients. The majority of Planned Parenthood’s patients are young adults as well as people of color, which is often reflected in the directors as well as the adults on the board. However, Foxx feels that youth directors bring the teen perspective that represents a majority of the patients.

The art is created from submissions from Planned Parenthood anonymously submitted stories and experiences and interpreted by student artists who read the story and put their own spin on it through their own work of art.

Carolina Machado, an artist participating in the show, felt even with the anonyminity, she is still creating an image for their story that in turn is going to help the organization by creating a ripple effect to help other people.

She said she likes the idea of an event run by the youth, because she never feels as if she is being talked down to. Machado sees everyone as her peers, as well as being able to contribute to a project that everybody helped put together because at the end of it, it isn’t just adults who were in charge.

Foxx said this makes the art and the message relatable. She believes this event will impact the community by making real solid connections between artists, storytellers and those who inevitably will view the artwork on Friday.

Bronson Souza, another artist at this event, decided to submit a piece after his co-worker, a youth director of Planned Parenthood Arizona, told him about the event. He said he felt the event is a really good way for teens to become activists in their community.

“Since the youth can’t really be directly involved with politics depending on age, I feel like this is a good way for Arizona youth to get involved with activism through other mediums such as art,” he said.

Foxx said if this event proves successful, it would open up a new door for youth, the Planned Parenthood youth board and social justice in general. She said if someone is designing something for teens, they should always be included in the design process.

“There shouldn’t be decisions made about us, without us,” said Foxx. “I myself am not very plugged into the art world, but I can appreciate that these artworks are really born out of collaboration.”

The show will take place this Friday at MADE art boutique from 5 to 7 p.m Friday.

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