The Homelessness Exhibit opens at Expressions Gallery, located at 2035 Ashby Ave, in Berkeley, California on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6pm. In addition to works by established and outsider artists, the exhibit includes works by adults and children involved with Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS), a non-profit that serves homeless individuals and families in Berkeley, Oakland, and Hayward. Some of the artists are residents of the BOSS shelter programs, like Jackie Bunton.
“I have enjoyed doing art since grade school. Doing art relaxes me and gives me brief respite from the issues I am having in my life,” said Bunton.
Other images have been created by artists who have not necessarily experienced homelessness personally, but are interested in participating in the mission of this exhibition. As the artwork came in on January 18, hanging day for the exhibit, artists gathered in the front room of the gallery space to deliver their artwork in canvas bags and neatly wrapped packing materials. The multicultural crowd included artists of a diversity of ages. Some of the artists are seniors. Others are as young as ten.
As the artists gathered for a meeting, Rinna B. Flohr articulated the mission of the exhibit for all assembled.
“The homeless are usually invisible to people. We walk by them but don’t see them. The goal of this exhibit is to make some of the community’s least visible people more visible.” - Flohr
The exhibit features also features a number of Oakland artists, including Aphra PIa, Rhinestone Patty, Sumiko California, Arlene Streich (Glass art jewelry), Elizabeth Teal, Roosevelt Washington, Ron Clark, Pedro Del Norte, and Jan Dove.
Oakland native Roosevelt Washington came from a poverty background and experienced four years of homelessness after a failed marriage. He credits becoming involved with the arts in his adolescence with keeping him away from gangs and drugs in his youth.
"I try to capture and express human emotions, fantasies and experiences," said Washington.
These are just some of the many talented people who will be exhibiting at the show, which will be running January 25 through April 18, 2014. Food and drink will be served at the two hour opening event from 6pm to 8pm this Saturday. Expressions Gallery is convenient located, half a block from the Ashby BART station.