Lost Childhoods

Step into an exhibit about foster youth made with foster youth—and leave empowered to take effective action.

Exhibited from July 7th, 2017 – December 31, 2017

Step into an exhibit about foster youth made with foster youth—and leave empowered to take effective action.

There are 60,000 youth in California’s foster care system. They struggle to avoid homelessness, prison, and social stigma. Their stories– of loss and resilience– are often unknown. That’s why we created an exhibition about foster youth — with foster youth.

Lost Childhoods: Voices of Santa Cruz County Foster Youth and the Foster Youth Museum showcases the stories, struggles, and triumphs of youth who are aging out of foster care. You will see personal belongings of foster youth, stunning photography by Ray Bussolari, and four different art installations foster youth created with artists Bridget Henry, Melody Overstreet, Elliott Taylor, and Nada Miljkovic.

This exhibition was created with the Foster Youth Museum and MAH’s Creative Community Committee (C3)— a group of over 100 local foster youth, artists, and youth advocates. Revealing what happens in foster care and concrete ways to support child welfare today, this is more than a moving exhibition– it is a powerful platform for dialogue and action in Santa Cruz County. YOU can take action to help youth succeed by visiting this exhibition and getting involved. Check out 40+ ways to help local foster youth today.


"...the show’s organizers want to do more than elicit sympathy from visitors."

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"Prepare to have your heart touched."

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"Maybe it’s time to add something to the official name of Santa Cruz’s primarily arts institution – something along the lines of “The Museum of Art, History and Social Activism.”"

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Watch the coverage on KSBW.

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Arts for Social Change

Assemblymember Mark Stone, The author of AB 403, a bill that dramatically changed the foster care system in California was in attendance on opening night. He told us “Through art, we can communicate much more effectively about what it is we’re trying to do and what it is we need to do.”

Mark further explained, “We cannot do system change without [youth] voice. I look at the exhibit–that’s your voice. That is one of the most incredible ways to explain to decision makers what you’ve gone through. And I challenge anyone who’s had contact with this system to go look in the eyes of those pictures and go look at the words and not be moved.”

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Lost Childhoods may have come and gone, but there's plenty to discover in our current exhibitions.