The homeless population continues to grow as more people move into the Flathead Valley. Although there is no end in sight to the issue, the community has done a lot to raise awareness and support.
Randi Sui was born in Kalispell and is now an established artist who is based out of the Boston area. She recently saw a news report about Sparrow's Nest of Northwest Montana, an organization that provides shelter and structure for homeless high schoolers in the Flathead, and decided she wanted to get involved.
"There's this hidden population of people. Young people that just don't have a home or support. and it really touched my heart," Sui said. "And when I thought back on it I thought hearts -- February, appassionato series, abstract hearts -- what a wonderful tie-in to give back to this wonderful community and help these young people."
Sui, who has now partnered up with Sparrow's Nest, has brought her work to the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell to help benefit the organization.
"It was a great idea, we had a nice space available and it's nice to be able to support other non-profits in our community," museum executive director Tracy Johnson said.
Each print is on sale for $25 dollars and 40% from each print will go to the Sparrow's Nest where director Jerramy Dear-Ruel says events like this are always helpful as the more funding the organization receives, the more shelter they can build for homeless teens as we gradually see the population rise.
"The numbers are growing and the need is out there and it is high. There's a large need out there for the amount of spaces that we can provide for housing in Whitefish and in Kalispell," Dear-Ruel said.
The painted heart prints come at the perfect time as Valentine's Day is on Wednesday.
Sui says the art is intended to reflect positive energy and hopes that it will inspire others to pursue their passions like it led her to help the homeless population in her hometown of Kalispell.
"The important thing is that you feel and see the energy of the heart and are reminded of how you can share and give your talent," Sui told MTN News.
The prints will be available for the rest of the month.