Foster Youth Museum Makes San Francisco Debut at Historic Grace Cathedral

Foster Youth Museum at Grace PosterFor Immediate Release: Foster Youth Museum Makes San Francisco Debut at Historic Grace Cathedral

Media Contact:  Annie Gardiner / annie@greenpenguincomm.com / 510.325.3654

Opening Reception:  Thursday, October 15, 2015, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Exhibition Hours:  Open daily October 15 – November 1, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street, San Francisco, CA
Cost: Free

Foster Youth Museum makes its San Francisco debut with an exhibition of Lost Childhoods at the iconic Grace Cathedral. Through photos, donated objects, video portraits, and foster youth art, Lost Childhoods documents youth experiences in foster care and tells the story of loss and powerlessness – and the human capacity for resilience and connection.

Visitors to Grace Cathedral may be surprised by the artifacts that youth have chosen to save and share, from the hefty case reports that follow foster youth from placement to placement, to letters from incarcerated loved ones. In the words of museum contributor, Sophia Herman, “It’s so important for foster youth to have documentation of their experiences. Lost Childhoods validates our existence.”

The museum highlights several themes that characterize experiences in foster care, including loss, developmental disruption, institutionalization, and powerlessness. The museum does not stop there, however, and highlights the remarkable stories of perseverance, achievement, and connection.

Jamie Lee Evans, co-founder and co-director, says, “Youth experiences in foster care have been silenced for too long, and with the museum, youth are bringing out these silenced stories out so members of the community can appreciate what it means to grow up as a foster youth.” As a traveling exhibition, Lost Childhoods seeds community discussions about how individuals, places of faith and others community members can better meet the needs of foster youth. On Sunday, October 18 at 9:30 a.m., Grace Cathedral will host “Foster Youth Perspectives,” a conversation with The Revs. Chris Chase and Rebecca Edwards of Braid Mission and LaTrenda Leslie and Valentino Luno, two former foster youth and museum contributors.

“We believe that the stories, images and artifacts in Lost Childhoods are sacred,” says The Reverend Rebecca Edwards, who is co-founder of Braid Mission, primary exhibition sponsor. “We know the artifacts will be a beacon of inspiration and hope for all who encounter them.” Braid Mission is a spiritual community that brings together the young, entrepreneurial spirit of San Francisco with the needs of youth whose life experience has included the challenge of being in foster care.

Foster Youth Museum was conceived by a group of former foster youth who wanted to share their experiences, so people could better understand the needs of foster youth in their community. It is a project of California Youth Connection in Oakland, CA.

Grace Cathedral is hosting the Foster Youth Museum because it aligns so well with the cathedral’s mission to share the love of God through worship, education, service and the arts. “Art can confront us with a truth about ourselves and our world that we never before recognized, and I think people will be changed when they view the art and artifacts in the Foster Youth Museum,” said the Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, dean of Grace Cathedral.

The Lost Childhoods exhibition also will include a Youth Gathering on Sunday, October 25, 4-5:30 p.m. at which time youth can view the museum, share in conversation, worship with each other and Bishop Marc Andrus, and share dinner. On November 1 at 6 p.m., the museum exhibit will officially close with the Sunday evening Eucharist at the cathedral.

In 2012, there were 51,800 children under the age of 18, in California, living in foster care. As of July 2014, there were 5,802 foster youth in the San Francisco Bay Area  Approximately 4,000 foster youth “age out” of care each year in California with insufficient housing, support, education, wellness, and resources.

Lost Childhoods is curated by Ray Bussolari and a team of exhibition collaborators, all of whom are current or former foster youth. The exhibit features more than 50 items, and is made possible with the generous support of Braid Mission, Grace Cathedral, the Diocese of California, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and Stuart Foundation.

The Lost Childhoods exhibition at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California Street, San Francisco, CA, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Summary of Lost Childhoods exhibition events at Grace Cathedral
Opening Reception:  Thursday, October 15 at 6:30-9:30 p.m.
A celebration to mark the opening of the Lost Childhoods exhibition at Grace Cathedral, including a special viewing of the museum and a short program, with an appearance by Senator Mark Leno.
The Forum at Grace Cathedral on Foster Youth Perspectives:  Sunday, October 18 at 9:30-10:30 a.m., Gresham Hall
The Revs. Chris Chase and Rebecca Edwards of Braid Mission in conversation with LaTrenda Leslie and Valentino Luna, two former foster youth who contributed to the museum.
Youth Gathering:  Sunday, October 25 at 4-5:30 p.m. with dinner to follow
A special viewing of the museum for youth, with time for conversation and worship with each other and Bishop Marc Andrus.
Closing Service:  Sunday, November 1 at 6 p.m. – Lost Childhoods exhibition will officially close with the Sunday-evening Eucharist at the cathedral.

About Foster Youth Museum
Foster Youth Museum is a collaboration between current and former foster youth, under the direction of Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project and California Youth Connection. The Museum builds awareness for the foster youth experience, from loss and vulnerability to healing and resilience. By bearing witness to the art, artifacts, voices, and stories of youth who have endured the foster care system, the museum ignites compassion and action so you can be part of transforming youth through supportive and meaningful connection. Lost Childhoods is available for rental at your gallery, event, or convening. For more information, visit fosteryouthmuseum.org. Follow us on http://www.facebook.com/fosteryouthmuseum.org and http://www.twitter.com/FYMuseum to join the conversation about the exhibit.

About Braid Mission
Braid Mission is a spiritual community that brings together the young, entrepreneurial spirit of San Francisco with the needs of youth whose life experience has included the challenge of being in foster care. Braid is a ministry of the Episcopal Church, which has a tradition of commitment to social justice and ethics.

About Grace Cathedral
Grace Cathedral is home to a community where the best of Episcopal Christian tradition courageously embraces innovation and open-minded conversation, where inclusion is expected and people of all faiths are welcomed, where beliefs are put into action and where people are encouraged to seek God and progress on their own spiritual journey. This renowned San Francisco landmark serves as a regional magnet where diverse people gather to celebrate, seek solace, converse and learn.

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