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Advocacy art can change a life

Using art to tell the story of sexual exploitation

Some art offerings in the “Take a Number” show are educational as well as aesthetic. B4-48, one of the main thematic pieces, references the fact that most homeless youth are propositioned for sex trafficking within 48 hours of hitting the streets. Photo credit: Brieanna Trovall

The Heights Center for Hope, a ministry founded by Hope Lutheran Church in St. Paul, recently opened “Take A Number,” a locally produced art show advocating against human sex trafficking. The show’s theme is a play on words, according to Tim Snyder, director of The Height Center for Hope and outreach architect for Hope Church. “The art in this educational show portrays statistics on the sex trafficking industry, but it also reinforces the shortage of beds for those who want to leave sex trafficking.”
Many of the featured art pieces in the show are produced by recovering victims of human sex trafficking right here in Minnesota. “This show is art that is more than just art, it is about a deeply complicated social injustice that we simply must take a stand against. The show is a first step towards awareness,” Snyder added.
“Take a Number” is the fifth art show for The Heights Center. Early shows have revolved around certain themes, like “Be Still” for Advent. “Take a Number” relates to Pentecost, according to Snyder. “As we enter Pentecost, we are reminded that there is neither Jew, nor Greek; perceived reasons for marginalizing people are swept away and the gospel erases boundaries,” he added. “We asked, ‘Where do we have boundaries?’” The result was “Take a Number.”
It is The Heights first foray into advocacy art, as opposed to art for aesthetics sake. The Heights is working with SourceMN, a “hardcore evangelical group, whose theology is different, but they are openly involved in direct service with homeless youth, most of whom are directly affected by sexual trafficking,” Snyder explained.
SourceMN runs The Annex, a shelter for people trying to excape sexual exploitation. Money raised through The Heights art show will support this effort.
The show is open generally Monday to Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-noon, and Sunday mornings during Hope Lutheran Church’s worship services. Hope Lutheran Church is located at 1340 Hazel Street North, St. Paul. Calling 651/774-9503 to confirm these times is encouraged. More information is available at
A June 2 workshop exploring art therapy will provide an opportunity to hear testimonies from artists and suggestions on how to be supportive of those escaping sex trafficking. For more information, call 651/774-9503.

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