We were left inspired by many incredible words, stories and ideas that were shared by all of our Engaging Artists residents and our speakers. It was wonderful to hear about how each resident has been flourishing in their volunteer work and their ideas for projects realized through volunteering. James Macklin (Director of Outreach at The Bowery Mission), Chris Tabellario (Common Ground Community Director, Street to Home, Brooklyn and Queens), and Marcus Moore (Housing Campaign Leader with Picture the Homeless) spoke about the amazing work they do as advocates for the homeless residents of New York City. They were equally amazed at the incredible work our Engaging Artists residents are doing, and their compassion and commitment to helping those in need. In fact many of our residents have been volunteering at Common Ground and The Bowery Mission Women’s Centers, so it was a special moment for them to connect with leaders from those organizations.
Chris spoke about how Common Ground’s housing programs work. Their street to home program takes a two-pronged approach. The first part of the program is outreach through 24/7 street canvassing to get individuals immediate services (i.e. shelter or detox) and identifying chronically street homeless individuals to be referred to the next phase which is case management. In case management, each chronically street homeless individual is assigned a case manager who works with them towards individualized permanent housing.
Marcus and James spoke to us candidly about their own struggles with homelessness and how they overcame living on the streets and shelters by committing to help others who are living on the streets and in shelters. The work that they do in their organizations provides hope and camaraderie for the homeless community. Marcus is involved in organizing homeless members of the community to become active in local and national politics and lobby for progressive issues dealing with housing equality, civil rights, and community land trusts. James spoke about The Bowery Mission’s diverse and extensive residential, spiritual, and well-being programing for homeless men, women, children and families.
Marcus is featured in a documentary titled “Living As Struggle: Story of a Homesteader in Ten Chapters.” Watch the trailer:
James Macklin stated: “No one wants you to solve their problems, they just want you to listen. If you listen long enough, they will solve their problems themselves.” These guiding words of wisdom resonated throughout the evening as we shared personal stories and listened to each others. The conversations and connections that began that evening will flourish far beyond the length of this residency.
Join us again on July 10th (6:30pm at Judson Memorial Church) when we will be joined by artists whose practice involves working with homeless individuals or organizations. Artists include: Jody Wood, Heather Stoltz, Hunter Reynolds, KOKO Surani, Kenji Nakayama, and Travis Laughlin (director of Education at the Joan Mitchell Foundation)