Painting with Those Experiencing Homelessness
Every Wednesday morning, Anderson Artists Guild member Shea Abramo invites those gathered at Hope Missions to paint. Hope, located at 213 South Towers Street in Anderson, is “a place where they’re welcome. Now it’s a space to create,” said Abramo. It also offers an escape from their normal routine and a place where there is no judgment. “We don’t ask for their story or what they can do,” she said. “Instead, we talk about their favorite color.”
Back in June 2022, Hope Missions had asked Abramo to do something artistic with this community. So she gathered donated supplies and started spending an hour each week at the mission. Attendance slowly grew, and in the past year about 50 different individuals have shown up, some attending weekly.
Inside, around two tables piled with supplies such as canvases, coloring books, and clay, the artists work on whatever appeals to them. Occasionally, there is a focused topic with instruction, such as making tie-dyed t-shirts.
When a suitable space is found, an exhibition of the work produced will be exhibited locally with a goal of dispelling misconceptions about homelessness. “I want to change the bias that those experiencing homelessness are drug addicts and felons,” said Abramo, who herself has experienced homelessness and housing insecurity. “Our own data shows that that percentage is low. This is a large group of forgotten people who don’t have family. There are a lot of folks, mostly 55 and older, with no technical skills and who don’t know how to get their benefits.”
For more information about Hope Missions, visit https://hopeupstate.org/.
To donate supplies, contact Abramo at email@example.com.