Saturday, October 3, 2015

Outsider Art

Last night I watched a public broadcasting system movie documentary about a city and it could be in any large city that has an influx of homeless people.   It was call Slum City Art.
In just a small area in a large city that has abandoned buildings, closed  stores etc. most of these homeless people always end up. They virtually live on the street or in corners of these old buildings or if they can get inside they go inside.

A certain percentage of these homeless people can be those that just got out of jail and no place to go, could be junkies from drugs that have lost everything because of the drugs or it could be the economy and the loss of jobs. Again, a certain percentage of them  are released from mental institutions.

From what I understood about this area, a working artist decided to open up one of the storefronts with her own money and provided a place for anyone to come in and do art. It started out with just a handful of people all sizes all shapes all having different reasons for being homeless yet they wanted to express their self and their feelings by doing part, by painting and drawing the circumstances around them.

They were  a little reluctant at first . Trust can be a problem! A few painted sitting on the curbs outside using  colored  pencils, water coloring paints, crayons whatever someone left or donated to this effort.  A few would take the chance and move inside the art building with  work tables, chairs and all kinds of medium was set up for them to use at their discretion.

It was amazing to me to see how many of these "homeless people ,"  were very talented and  would  sell their paintings.  The artist who started this would take half a dozen of them to art galleries and museums that they had never been to before. She wanted them to see what types of art is out there and to learn more about the classics that we take for granted.

She just let them go with whatever they wanted to paint or sketch or draw with her being there to help should they need to be critiqued in anyway. But, most of the time she just let them do their thing. It was amazing to me to see the talent that could have been lost but for this woman. If you get a chance to see PBS check it out. Another website is ArtIntheStreets.


  1. Having no TV, I won't see that show, but I'm glad to know, thanks to your post, that at least in one city, an artist is sharing the joy of art with people who have much to express, giving them the tools and taking their impulses seriously enough to take them to see other art in galleries. This is a kindess that reaches out to the deepest part of people who are suffering in very unfortunate circumstances. It surely give them some beauty in their lives they would not have otherwise.

  2. Interesting. I live northern Indiana. A nearby town has dedicated an alley in the downtown area for street artist to paint on the sides of the buildings. Every now and then the paper does a story on it. We have visited the spot and there is amazing art being created. Its so cool that the artist in the show created a place for the homeless to express themselves and possibly earn some cash. You know how people are...when the find art with a unique origin they jump on it. Smart artist with a big heart.

  3. We should show more mercy towards the homeless people! Moreover, those released from jail need psychological rehabilitation!