Faces and Voices: Homeless in America

Nov. 30, 2016 – Jan. 21, 2017
First Friday reception Dec. 2, 6:30-9pm
Artist lecture Saturday, Dec. 3 at 11:30am
Panel discussion Friday, Jan. 6 at 7pm

Nearly half a million people are homeless in America on any given evening*. The reasons behind homelessness are as varied and unique as the people themselves. Some were born into homelessness, some have made poor choices, some have had bad luck, some have been taken advantage of, and most have suffered from the erosion of America’s safety net that began in the 1980s. The work of photographer Stevan Maxwell brings this social epidemic into sharp focus, and into the context of Mesa County.

Maxwell began interviewing and photographing homeless individuals in Mesa County in the 1990s, and The Art Center first exhibited Faces and Voices in 2011. The project found a new home in early 2015 with Grand Valley Peace & Justice, a social justice organization whose mission includes advocating for the vulnerable and marginalized in our community. In an effort to honor the human dignity of those individuals and families, Grand Valley Peace & Justice has worked to galvanize and grow the exhibition’s impact in Grand Junction and beyond.

This iteration includes more recent portraits and photographic sculptures. The plain white background and empty frame of the photographs implicate the viewer as much as the subject: there is no special effect or visual metaphor to hide behind as you take in the work. Several portraits are accompanied by interviews of the subject. It can be a challenging life story to relive, with equal parts grief and resilience made public. Check in with yourself after looking and listening. What does homelessness mean to you now?

Supplementing the exhibition is information explaining the myths and facts of homelessness in the U.S., both nationally and locally. The Art Center is also hosting a goods drive for the duration of the show. Please help to alleviate the struggle of those experiencing homelessness by bringing something from the wish lists of the Joseph Center and HomewardBound, available here and here. It will go a long way toward making their days and nights more bearable.

 

*U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

 


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