“[Street artist] Skid Robot humanizes the homeless by incorporating them into his art, creating scenes in which the subjects aren’t just a faceless person, down on their luck.” –Huffington Post
Before becoming an art therapist, I volunteered for a time at a homeless shelter in Somerville, Massachusetts. I worked with another woman and we did art projects with children, taught mothers how to make healthy meals on a tight budget and most of all formed relationships with the young, often single parent, families residing in the small shelter. It was an experience that in many ways informed my path toward art therapy and mental health counseling.
Years later, I went on to do further work at a wonderful program called Housing Families, Inc. in Malden, Massachusetts, where I interned as an art therapist. In that role I learned even more about how fine the line truly is between having and not having. With the perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances, any one of us can find ourselves in the category of “homeless.”
I’ve lived in Burlington, Vermont now for 4 years where my interactions with people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so have continued in a variety of ways. I see how easily people turn a blind eye to the plight of those on the streets and in my time here I’ve continued to ask, “What can I do? How can I help?” These questions come less from a place of feeling as though I know better or have something others need but more from a place of wanting to shine a light on humanity in order to help our society as a whole give those who’ve found themselves on the margins a sense of dignity and hope. I wish to promote the message that people faced with homelessness are part of our community regardless of the circumstances they live in.
Street artist, Skid Robot, in LA appears to have a similar motive to my own. His approach of creating graffiti art of the needs, hopes and dreams of those living on the streets is controversial but the intent behind his artistic actions is pure stating for the Huffington Post, “I’m drawing attention to a human being who more often than not is looked at as nonexistent.” I value his work and the message he is sending. It is my hope that Whirled Tree Arts can have a similar impact in our East Coast communities.
Skid Robot has a GoFundMe campaign to support his work as does Whirled Tree Arts. Feel free to learn more about both our missions here: