Art has the power to heal, energize, and bring people together. Art creates dialogue and gives voice; empowers and inspires.
For all these reason and more, art factors into much of United Way’s work. The Art of Community is a new exhibit on display in United Way of Winnipeg’s innovative main floor space at 580 Main Street.
It showcases the many ways art is helping Winnipeggers change their lives by giving meaning, motivation, a source of price, achievement and self-expression; as well as a sense of belonging and wellbeing.
In many cases, art provides a medium for Winnipeggers to pay forward the support they’ve received. In every case, it is a gift made possible through your support for United Way. The exhibit is free and open to the public weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.
A journey through the streets and abandoned lots of the Main Street neighbourhood where Ojibway artist Kevin Anderson lived an survived for almost a decade as a homeless individual yields a powerful look at homelessness in Winnipeg.
Main Street’s Edge Gallery is hosting Anderson’s homelessness awareness and education initiative Street Life, a series of drawings “carefully, without blame…capturing images of life in our city as a member in the ‘Unseen Community’.”
Anderson’s “painfully accurate memories… express the isolation, loss and trauma homeless individuals and families face every day.” Just sixteen months ago, the artist was without a home.
Now he faces new challenges, learning to live in a home and celebrating his longest period of safe housing.
Kevin’s experience is but a single example highlighting the issue of homelessness in Winnipeg, and is why under the leadership of United Way’s Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, a Community Task Force to End Homelessness was established earlier this year.
The Task Force is developing a 10 year plan to end homelessness in our city. While it is easier to build another shelter, stock up the food bank and add another line to the soup kitchen, other cities have shown results when they change their mindset from managing homelessness – to ending it. These cities have developed plans that unite government, non-profit and private sector efforts toward that goal.
project will have an exhibit of photographs from participants in the Housing First project, a project that provides services and housing to people experiencing serious mental health issues and homelessness.
These photos explore and document their experience in the project. Participants were given digital cameras and supported by peer mentors to take photos and write about them. This enabled participants to report on their experience in a variety of ways.
“Focusing the Frame” gives participants of the At Home/Chez Soi project a forum to share with others their knowledge and experience of being homeless and then being housed; and helps them show and teach us, through pictures and words, what their housing means to them.
United Way’s Atrium will be the venue for this two week showing, beginning with the Opening Reception on Thursday, November 24th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome!