The Starving Artist

I saw him as I drove to work. It was early, but the sun was fully up. Still, the air outside was below freezing, and it seemed early to be working the street. There he was, though, pacing up and down the median near the intersection. He had on a heavy jacket over clean jeans, and a furry hat. He didn’t look as if he’d been living on the streets, at least not too long. He looked young. He carried a sign made from a flattened cardboard box. One side was brightly painted with graffiti-style art. He turned it over to reveal his message. “Money for art,” it read. In his hand was a cup he held out for donations.

A new twist on panhandling- not the usual “Will work for food” or “need money to get home.” It made me think. The art work on his sign was well done. He was only a block away from a charter school for the Arts that is well known locally. Did he truly want to buy art supplies?

Was he really a starving artist? Or a con artist? He was giving out waves and smiles to convince his audience in the cars stopped at the light to donate. I didn’t see anyone make a donation. As the light changed, he folded his sign and started walking away…

And I drove on, turning my thoughts to the day ahead at school…

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5 Responses to The Starving Artist

  1. arjeha says:

    It is so hard to know if one is truly in need or out scamming. It is a shame that the world has made us so cynical.

  2. onathought says:

    I feel like now I will always wonder about this! What a powerful slice — that reminds us that sometimes the fleeting moments… moments at an intersection … they are slices of life.

  3. Ramona says:

    I used to keep food in my car to hand out to folks asking for money, but I haven’t done that in a long time. I like the detail you use to describe the young man. Interesting that you paid attention this morning and kept this moment in mind until you could write about it.

  4. Such a descriptive slice and now we will always wonder what his real motive was and if he made any money anywhere and used it for art materials!?

  5. Alien Resort says:

    Maybe his name was Art.

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