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'Artful Solutions' for the homeless

December 6, 2008 |  5:00 am


Art heals the soul. But can it heal the homeless? That's what the foks at the L.A. County Arts Commission are betting on with several pilot programs kicked off last summer to address issues facing the homeless population.

"Artful Solutions: Pathways From Homelessness" is the title of the initiative that awarded five grants to arts-based organizations that partnered with housing, shelter and social service agencies. It's also the name of the art exhibition currently on display at the Armory Center for the Arts, featuring 55 pieces created by people from Union Station Homeless Services. The exhibition is a culmination of a 24-week, two-hour workshop for families and individuals that taught the basics of drawing, painting, screen art and stenciling.

Homeless "The simple taks of showing up to a class every week creates a sense of routine and regularity in their lives," said executive director Laura Zucker. This motivation may jumpstart the confidence and self-worth needed to believe they can hold a job or live in an apartment. Of the 55 pieces on display, nine have been sold, with proceeds going directly to the artists.

A reception will be held Saturday, Dec. 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Armory. The exhibit runs through Dec. 31. For more photos of works from the project and the making of them, click here.

-- Liesl Bradner

Photos: Top: Irwin McBride, 6, left, and Luis Dominguez, 7, paint. Bottom: An acrylic on canvas by Esther Garcia titled "I Am Alive." Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times