The following is a video of the recent story we posted about an art therapy program that helped a former drug addict get a full scholarship to Parsons. The transcript is below. It’s a great story that really illustrates the power of art and why we created this Art Therapy site. Please share this story with others as it’s truly inspiring!
|Art therapy program at homeless shelter helps women rebuild lives, defy stereotypes|
In the world of social services, the needs of the homeless usually fall in the following categories
- roof over the head
- food in the belly
- and how do i find a job
But at the HomeFront shelter in Ewing, there’s one more. Most women who live and work at the shelter are urged to pick up a paint brush.
Ruthann Taylor – ArtSpace Director, HomeFront
“Most of them say ‘I can’t.’ They can’t draw, I can’t do this…So today, we’re gonna try. That’s it. There’s no artistic rule. The only thing I do ask is that we’re not judging other people’s artwork and that you try.”
Ruth Morales – Shelter Resident
“When I first started here, the first thing I said is ‘I can’t draw, I can’t do it.’ I would look at a picture and say, ‘I will never do that.'”
The goal here isn’t great art, but sometimes that happens anyway.
“I just have this one right here. This is a client that came in and said ‘I can’t paint’…and this is fabulous. I mean this could be in the MoMA, but it’s not…it’s here. We have things that are just as good.”
Emily Lewis came to ArtSpace on a welfare work program. She had no high school diploma and no direction. But now she’s leaving on a scholarship to Parsons School of Design, one of the top design schools in the country.
“I never painted before in my life. And I guess it’s like hiddent talents. And actually before I got involved in this, I was not even thinking about life itself. I was going down a really bad path with drugs so, I really didn’t think about a future. There was like no future.”
Some of these works are on show at Princeton University in the Bernstein Gallery. The exhibition was inspired by research that found stereotypes of homeless people are by far the worst among all social groups.
Kimberly Lennon – Former shelter resident
“How You See Me means showing other people in the world the other side, the other story of homeless people and people who can’t really speak for themselves.”
This exhibit hits you in the face with its message, but it also stands on its own for its art.
Kate Somers – Curator, Bernstein Gallery
“Well, I think there’s definitely what we call an ‘outsider art’ quality…an untrained, unschooled quality about the art. But that said, there are just fantastic pieces in here. Every one has a special quality about it. But this particular one of a woman looking into a starry night…I think is pretty magical.”
“Art and painting is not just painting a pretty picture. It’s actually painting a story. This little boy…he shows so much hope in his eyes and promise…it shows that if you look hard, you may see a child that was in foster care, an orphan, or somebody that was just abandoned on the street and then some lovely young woman came and just scooped him up…and adopted him and gave him all that love that he craved. There is no past in his eyes…It’s all future.”