Is creating artwork a privilege that only those with means can afford?
Not at HomeFront, where the creative process is used as a tool to heal, and to break down barriers and celebrate the human spirit, said ArtSpace founding director Ruthann Traylor. Traylor and her dedicated team are busy preparing for ArtJam, the pop-up gallery that will open Friday, May 19, at 19 Hulfish St., Princeton, and run for three weeks. This is the seventh year for the annual event that brings together professional artists, such as Judith K. Brodsky and Nell Painter, along with HomeFront client-artists. All the artwork is for sale, and money raised helps to pay for the therapeutic ArtSpace program, including art supplies — which are, indeed, a luxury.
“Simply being able to buy supplies is a challenge both for clients and for the program,” said Traylor. “ArtSpace encourages creativity and self-expression in a safe and nurturing environment. Many HomeFront clients have found a sense of purpose, renewal and confidence through our ArtSpace programs, which allows them to discover their talents. This exhibit is where their creativity is on display and they take pride in what they have accomplished.”
There are many reasons people become homeless, from having employment outsourced, a home burn down or raising a child with a disability as a single parent, to suffering traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident or having to care for elderly parents when resources are tight. Anxious and uncertain about her future, one client, after becoming reacquainted with her love for painting in ArtSpace, said, “Now my confidence is back. I don’t feel like I have limits anymore.”
The stories of people who have found their life’s direction through HomeFront could fill a book — and they have. New Ways of Seeing My World is a book commemorating HomeFront’s 25th anniversary, offers photos of seven ArtSpace artists, their stories in their own words and their art. Interspersed are quotes and images of works by other ArtSpace clients. The book will be available for sale at ArtJam.
ArtJam includes paintings, photography, glass, sculpture, jewelry and products created at SewingSpace, a branch of HomeFront’s ArtSpace program teaching HomeFront clients how to sew and develop entrepreneurial skills.
Opening reception: Friday, May 19, 6-9 p.m. In addition, the Wondrous on Witherspoon Pop-Up Art Gallery, 14 ½ Witherspoon St., Princeton, also benefitting HomeFront’s ArtSpace, will be part of the May 19 “Art Walk” reception.