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The Ups and Downs of Life in the City

I really like having extra art days! July 4 meant an extra day in the studio, which meant faster progress on the next piece in the series. This piece is about a woman I met in one of the faith-based shelters whose story really hits home. Not only do we share a name, but elements of her story echo pieces of my own life.

When Heather moved to New York, she had a great job as a copy editor at Harper Collins. She enjoyed the work and it provided her with an income that allowed her to truly live the Upper East Side NY life. After two years at the job, Heather decided to go back to school for an additional degree in English. When she graduated in 2008, the economy wasn’t what it was when she entered, direct loans to students were no longer available, and there were no jobs to be had. Now, three years later, she has still not found a position with any reliable income and she is living in a faith based shelter until she can make it on her own again. Her parents (who are retired and living in GA) are helping as much as they can and would welcome her back into their home at any time, but Heather is determined to make this work. At 37, she doesn’t want to be relying on her parents and wants to stay in the city. With her skills and determination, I hope she is able to find her dream job once again.

HeatherDetailExitThe right side of the piece tells the story of Heather’s successful New York life. The city skyline is a backdrop for the silhouettes that show her hard at work at the computer, partying with friends, and shopping. The black background is covered with a gold tulle so the night sky sparkles and the pavement at the bottom of the piece also has a shine to it. In the next section, the skyscrapers are replaced by stacks of books as she delves into her studies. And once she receives her graduation cap and diploma, the golden backdrop comes to an abrupt end leaving only darkness quilted with free motion zig-zag. Buried in this chaos, however, is a door with an exit sign (detail on left) – a door that is always available to her if she chooses to return to the comfort of her parents’ home.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. heather I am so impressed with your sensitivity, with your vision and with the beauty of the pictures. Are the others all fabric? How long do they take? How big are they. Which shelter?

    1. Deborah, Thank you for your kind words. All of the panels are fabric and they are either 96″ x 30″ or 32″ x 90″ depending on the orientation. I interviewed several men and women at faith-based shelters in the city and created pieces based on their stories. The final installation piece will travel to synagogues and churches in NYC starting in November. You can see the schedule at: I hope to see you there!

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