8 mar 2013

Starving Artists Project tells the stories of homeless artists

Despite their massive presence, the homeless are widely ignored. They are part of city invisible culture. But every day this people communicate to us, telling their basic need for help through a piece of cardboard. Each sign expresses a basic human need in a creative way completely unique to the creator’s life.

StarvingArtists Project is a new initiative, it try to change all of that by giving NYC’s homeless community a platform to showcase their cries for help. The program seeks to turn the cardboard signs we see being held up on street corners and in subway stations into art that funds social change.
The creators of the project, Nick Zafonte and Thompson Harrell, worked with world-renowned photographer Andrew Zuckerman (famous for shooting portraits of politicians, humanitarians, artists and entertainers) to capture beautiful, dignified portraits of each “artist” as well their handmade artistic signs and turn the images into a collection of art to inspire change.

The Starving Artists Project Film from Thompson Harrell on Vimeo.

The collection of diverse cardboard signs, along with portraits , debuted at the Dumbo Arts Center in January, 2012. The project showcases 35 handwritten signs, accompanied by portraits of the 30 artists who wrote them. A giant 4 ft tall collection cup was constructed and placed in the center of the gallery - all donations were given to the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and Holy Apostles SoupKitchen, two local charities focused on feeding the local community.
Zafonte and Harrell explained to the Huffington Post: “Everyday the homeless reach out through the only means they have, scraps of cardboard and their own creativity. The problem is we don’t ever look, seeing their messages as an interruption to our day. Our mission and solution was to change the way society interprets their messages – by presenting their signs as art, allowing their own voices to inspire meaningful action.”

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Photo credit © Starving Artists Project




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