BronxWorks Clients Featured in Heart Gallery NYC Exhibition

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

BronxWorks is honored to have been featured in the Heart Gallery NYC's inaugural "Through the Eyes of the Homeless"exhibition. Held on Monday, November 16th at the Prince George Ballroom, the exhibit featured photography from three BronxWorks clients - Carl, Dionne, and Michael - who formed part of a cohort of 14 mentee artists from across the city. The exhibition was carried out in collaboration between the Heart Gallery and the New York City Department of Homeless Services, and provided participants with both space to showcase their art and with original prints of their work.

Harnessing the power of photography to both express oneself and communicate one's story to a broader audience, the "Through the Eyes of the Homeless" project pairs homeless (or recently homeless) New Yorkers with professional photographers to create images that speak to their lived experiences - in the process, raising public awareness about issues of affordable housing in the city. The three BronxWorks program participants had the chance to hone both technical and artistic photography skills, work with celebrity photographer Deborah Feingold, and exhibit their work to the public. Homeless Outreach Team Outreach Coordinator Juan Rivera said of the project that "they saw the fruits of their labor, and that it was a great experience." Of the project's impact, Juan reflected that "this is a way for a bridge to be built where people can gain an understanding through symbolism, through pictures, of 'this is what it's like for someone on the street, this is what they see... maybe I can then become a little more sensitive to the fact that these are human beings and that they have experiences beyond stereotypical ideas out there about homelessness."

In its first year, "Through the Eyes of the Homeless" is modeled after a highly successful similar project in Paris last year by French social services organization Deuxieme Marche, and embodies its goals of empowering homeless city residents to tell their stories through their own lens. Participants came away from the project with a comprehensive set of photographic skills, from camera operation and perspective to subject selection and composition. The exhibition will take place at locations around the city over the coming months, after a tenure at City Hall.

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