Artists Provide Inspiring Display for USC Homelessness Summit

By Brenda Wiewel, Director, USC Initiative to Eliminate Homelessness

Attendees at the USC Homelessness Summit were treated to an amazing display of artwork created by people who have experienced homelessness in their lives. The exhibition, titled “Community Creativity: Homelessness and Empowerment Through Art,” was sponsored by downtown non-profit organizations and curated by Kat Sayarath, a 2018 candidate at USC Roski’s MA Program in Curatorial Practices and the Public Sphere. The artwork gives voices to artists, demonstrating talent and passion inspired by personal experience. The art programs help foster and support opportunities for individuals who have experienced homelessness to make art and access creative outlets, in spite of the challenges they may be facing.

Piece by Piece, affiliated with Skid Row Housing Trust, provides low-income and formerly homeless people free mosaic art workshops. They use recycled materials to develop marketable skills, self-confidence, earned income, and an improved quality of life.

MADE, part of the Downtown Women’s Center, empowers women to discover talents and develop skills. They make handmade products that generate economic and social capital to support programs at DWC. MADE creates amazing opportunities for women to overcome barriers to employment.

The People Concern’s Studio 526 is a community arts and cultural platform in LA’s Skid Row. It includes painting, drawing, and music studio sessions. There are also workshops that explore writing and photography. They take part in periodic art exhibition collaborations and other participatory projects.