Project Envision was created as part of the course projectFIND at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA). projectFIND focuses on displaced individuals and communities. Through Project Envision I worked with the homeless women residing at Norma Herr Women’s Center (NHWC) in Cleveland, Ohio.
Project Envision was a year long project that was realized in two parts. First, at weekly workshops I discussed with the women how to positively change the perception of the space in which they reside, specifically the dining room of NHWC. If it would be through a painting, what would this painting represent, what message would it carry? Through discussion, questionnaires and ideation, we came up with ideas for the painting. Based on the ideas I created multiple sketches for the painting.
This is the final sketch for the painting that was collectively chosen. We decided to present it as a triptych, each panel symbolizing a part of the women’s journey. The words that the women wanted to come through the drawing are: struggle, hope, courage, resilience, strength, community.
As I worked on the painting, each week I would bring photos of the work in progress and discuss it with the women. We would talk about color, the figures and the background, the emotional content, the style, the aesthetic qualities.
The work in progress:
The second part of Project Envision was that during the weekly two hour workshops at NHWC the women created artwork influenced by our discussion of the painting. I introduced the materials, then asked everyone to consider a theme like portraiture, emotion represented through color, landscape. The participants were also encouraged to represent or reflect on anything that they considered appropriate at the time, be it an event in their life, the mood they were that day, or simply a fruit ball they imagined.
Artworks created by participants:
The Triptich and the small works done by the women of Norma Herr were presented publicly at Cleveland Institute of Art’s Student & Alumni Gallery, May 16-June 17 2016. The triptych is in the process of being installed at Norma Herr Women’s Center.
Read more about the project here.
I would like to Thank the following organizations and individuals for their extraordinary support of Project Envision:
Norma Herr Women’s Center, the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, FrontLine Services, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH), EDEN, Inc. and Cleveland Institute of Art. As well as MJ Tigert, Ramona Turnbull, Gino Scarselli, and all the amazing ladies of Norma Herr. Thank You!
Special Thanks to Murphy Family Foundation for Funding and Sai Sinbondit for your incredible work on projectFIND and everything you did to make Project Envision possible.