Before I share this post, I should clearly say that all of these amazing photographs were taken by Ben Premeaux.
You can see all of the photos by visiting the McColl Center for Art + Innovation’s flickr page.
It seems long, long ago and at the same time yesterday that I was living in Charlotte, North Carolina for two months as part of a residency program established by the Rasmuson Foundation.
This is how the program works–four outside organizations send four artists and writers to the north, and Alaska sends four artists and writers to the lower 48.
Last year, I was one of those artists.
I have written several posts about the residency program and you can read them by clicking here, here, and here.
My residency partner was the McColl Center for Art + Innovation. At McColl, the residency program has a community component.
This means we take our art out of the studio and into the community with the hopes of engaging the community in a meaningful way.
I’ve written before about making community quilts and the joy that happens when a community is stitched together out of colorful scraps of fabric.
I have written about community quilts many times on this blog. A few of the more popular posts are here, here, here, and here.
Having experience with engaging communities in this way, it only made sense that I would build a community quilt while in Charlotte.
And so I did. I spent two months working with the residents of Moore Place.
I told the full story about my journey to Moore Place in this blog post. If you have time, I hope you will read it.
The work the Urban Ministry Center and Moore Place are doing should be recognized.
They are amazing organizations.
Here is the short version. Moore Place is a permenant housing facility for 85 formerly chronically homeless individuals.
Moore Place is a HousingWorks program implemented via the Urban Ministry Center.
HousingWorks believes in an evidence-based practice called Housing First also known as Permanent Supportive Housing.
It is a simple idea with powerful results–give the chronically homeless housing.
Once they have a home, they can then begin to address many of the issues that are the root causes of homelessness–mental and physical disabilities, addiction and abuse, and unemployment.
Think about it. If you were homeless how healthy would your diet be? how likely would you be able to hold down a job? how emotionally stable would you feel?
Every Tuesday for two months, I made pillow cases and tote bags with the residents of Moore Place.
We talked about building a community quilt and what that might mean.
For the last two sessions, we made quilt blocks.
I collected 32 quilt blocks made by the residents of Moore Place as well all the stakeholders in the project including staff from the Urban Ministry Center, the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, and Moore Place.
I am calling this quilt HOME. If you would like to see my progress as I stitch these blocks together, you can by following me on Instagram or Facebook. As most of you know, I am not particularly tech savvy. I’m working on it. I do believe I have set links on my about blog page for you do to this.