Ruthann Traylor (left) and Wendy Hallstrom.
Sometimes those struggling to escape poverty fail to see the value in the work they do. A woman recently visited SewingSpace and for the first time made a drawing and then painted it. The painting was a simple, yet stunning, vase with flowers. When finished, she left it on a table, apparently indifferent to her work.
Traylor found a gorgeous gold frame and placed the painting on an easel. When the woman later returned, she walked past the work, and at first didn’t recognize it as her own. She was astonished when Traylor asked if it could be included in an upcoming art sale.
“I think sometimes when you have so little money you can’t make ends meet feel like you’re valued less,” Traylor said. “And this woman didn’t value the painting she did. . . This program helps break down the barriers of class and race. So someone will see themselves not as a homeless person, but as an artist.”
The exhibition, Meanings of Home, includes paintings, ceramics and photography. Students created a booth that resembled a home and took family portraits. The photos will be displayed and the booth will be installed as part of the exhibition; anyone visiting the show can also take photos in it.
The workshops and exhibitions are funded through a generous grant by the Bunbury Foundation.
For the past decade, ArtSpace has encouraged creativity and self-expression through art therapy in a safe and nurturing environment with the goal of rebuilding the souls of those suffering from poverty, homelessness and family abuse. ArtSpace is run by HomeFront, a Mercer County-based organization that seeks to both lessen the immediate pain of homelessness and to help families become more self-sufficient by giving them the skills and opportunities to ensure adequate income.
In addition to the Lawrenceville location, HomeFront has a Family Campus in Ewing that houses up to 40 families. Through HomeFront’s Resource Network, donations of clothing, furniture and small household items are accepted; its FoodPantry provides a week’s worth of free groceries to low-income families who need them. Learn more by visiting www.homefrontnj.org.
The show’s opening reception is Saturday, June 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Museum, 7 Lower Center St. in Clinton.