This afternoon, I visited the University Family Shelter to do a fiber art workshop with their children. This is part of my Temporary Shelter project for which I’m collecting stories of New York’s homeless. The art, created by the 12 students (ages 6-12) who attended the workshop today, will be incorporated into the final installation piece. I asked the students to think about one story about their lives in the shelter (or before they arrived) – one day that stands out to them and then walked them through ways to visually show the feelings associated with that day.
Below are a few examples. The first is from a 9 year-old who told me that the day he left his house was a very sad day. He made a picture of himself and his family outside their house, crying because they had to leave. The next picture is by a 7 year-old who is “angry that he has to live in [the shelter].” The black shapes on the gray background represent his anger. And the last piece is by an 8 year-old who told me that he was “happy and excited” on the day they moved to the shelter because the previous shelter had been too loud. His picture is of the house he plans to live in one day “out in the country where it’s quiet.”
I was impressed by these thoughtful artists and look forward to my next shelter visit. Check back for updates as this project progresses!