The Healing Power of Art


On Aug. 15, Painting Out Poverty hosted a day-long kick-off at the Westminster Presbyterian Church around the theme “The Healing Power of Art.” The work of local artists adorned the walls, and representatives of organizations such as Street Sense, Fuerza Contra Alzheimer’s and the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop sat ready at tables to discuss how their organizations use the arts to combat poverty and illness.

One of the attendees was too big to fit inside the venue: A bus, painted white with gold dollar accents, sat in the parking lot outside. I Have a Home Here is a mobile, community-based art installation meant to illustrate the realities of poverty in the city. In a previous installation the bus was rendered invisible, representing the invisibility of the homeless. Future plans include creating a temple to homelessness in the interior of the bus, and making it a base for an interactive game of Homelessopoly, where players move around the board with backpacks, cardboard boxes and shopping carts, and give donations to Street Sense to get out of jail.

Back in the church, the day’s program began with an all-star panel, moderated by Juanita Hardy, Executive Director of Cultural DC, in which representatives from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Will Rap 4 Food and Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) joined CHAW, Fuerza Contra Alzheimer’s and the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian to discuss how artists and arts organizations can empower people, develop communities and transform lives. (Next)

About the Author: Tara Campbell is a DC-based writer of crossover science fiction. Formerly a painter, she’s now content to stand back and write about people who can really wield a brush.

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