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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, May. 26, 2010 7 years ago

Exhibit shows home is where the art is

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

Doors have always made meaningful metaphors. They can be open. They can be closed. They can be locked. They can be beaten down. No matter the style, however, they are usually the way into our homes — that is, unless you’re homeless.

Inspired by the symbolism of doors, a group of homeless Sarasota artists who belong to the “I Am Home” art project recently ditched their white canvases for the imperfect surface of old doors.

Working out of a temporary classroom space at the Resurrection House, a day resource center for the homeless in the Rosemary District, the group transformed nine doors into an eclectic collection of art that explores and challenges the meaning of home.

The group’s “Doors of Perception” show opened last Thursday at the Art Center and will remain up through July 9, as part of the Art Center’s “I Am Home” exhibit, which features the work of local painters and architects such Joseph Patrick Arnegger, Patrick Fiore, Greg Hall and Halflants + Picchette.

Founded in January 2009 by Sarasota hairdresser Janet Taylor, the “I Am Home” art project is a loose gathering of homeless artists that began as a rudimentary drawing session every Thursday at the Resurrection House.

With the collaboration and support of the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, Tommy Bahama on St. Armands Circle and Art Center Sarasota, the group has grown into a thriving community of 15 artists, many of whom regularly sell their work at art shows at Tommy Bahama, the Selby Public Library, the Venice Public Library and at churches around town.

“Our mission was not necessarily to sell the art,” says Taylor. “It was to provide a safe and nurturing environment for homeless folks to create art and in the process find healing, dignity and hope. The wonderful thing is that they’ve actually made some good money.”

Taylor says she’s consistently blown away by the caliber of the work. Many of the “I Am Home” artists are as talented as professionals. As a result, they group has earned more than $10,000 in art sales.

“It’s just amazing to me,” Taylor says. “I didn’t realize the impact this would have on people’s lives.”

Contact Heidi Kurpiela at [email protected].

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