The Art's Room Project

by Anne Plaisance

MA

AN ARTY TINY HOUSE?

The Art’s Room is an artistic “tiny house" that will be built with homeless women in Cambridge, MA. 

As a visual artist, I am already working with homeless women at Transition House, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence in Cambridge, MA. Each week, I organize art workshops to offer them opportunities to express their own creative visions of what they want and need (pictures on http://www.theartsroomproject.com/blog.php  the Facebook page: the art's room project) . We want tcreate an artistic and representational home (a tiny house) that is a vehicle to spark the public conversation about strategies to address homelessness and violence against women.

I've been awarded in January 2017, a grant from the Massachusets Cultural Council and the City of Cambridge (3750 USD), through the Cambridge Cultural Council, to support this project, but unfortunately it does not cover all the costs of it, so I need your help to be sure I can achieve what I've planned. Today, I have the following partners helping me: Transition House, Violence Transformed, the Cambridge Art Association and Buy and Consign (consignment store in Waltham). I'm still looking for partners :)

WHY? 

Homelessness is becoming a structural byproduct of the capitalist economy. Rising costs of living in the USA (29% since 2003), growing income inequality and job instability, rising healthcare costs, ecological disasters, added to the fact that 70% of Americans have debt, increases risks for individuals to land on the street.  For women, domestic and intimate partner violence are key causes of homelessness. When I arrived in the United States in 2015, I wanted to do something for the community, and came up in 2016 with the socially engaged Art’s Room Projectat the crossroads of arts, sustainability/zero waste, civic engagement, high tech, and architecture. My artworks, paintings, and installations I'm working on are strongly engaged. I often focus on difficult or taboo subjects (for example the "Badrooms" project deals with child sexual abuse). In 2016, I was awarded a grant from the Cambridge Arts Council for a CSArt project (Community Shared Art), for which I developed 50 portraits of famous women who had been homeless (Ella Fitzgerald, JLO, Marianne Faithfull: pictures on: http://www.anneplaisance.com/the-arts-room-project.php). 

The Art's Room project is more complex and ambitious than anything I've done before, that's why I am asking for your help, now. 

HOW?

The project is developed in 3 steps:

Incubate:  engage shelter residents at Transition House as project partners and develop joint strategies for art making and constructing a sustainable tiny house. We'll do our best to involve other Cambridge community partners (architects, carpenters, designers, artists, tiny house builders and sustainability experts) on a volunteer basis (Anyone interested?:)

Create:  facilitate weekly art making and house design sessions at the Shelter (ongoing). 

Engage: exhibit the tiny house throughout Cambridge, MA with guided tours by willing project participants (I'm in the process of looking for places..). An adjacent pop-up gathering space and a share box (to donate items) will be created under a tent with table and chairs. 

Ultimately, the artistic tiny house may serve as a powerful metaphor for a meta goal: a safer world for women.

I need today to raise 3500 USD to cover the building costs of the tiny house (we will use as much as we can of in-kind materials donations) for expenses such as nails, tools, wood, windows, wheels, unplanned expenses, etc..). In case the project is overfunded, the money will be used to show the tiny house in more places (transport/insurance/permits/maintenance/repairs...) as well as for the next steps of it (more workshops for homeless women, help for them and their kids, workshops about zero waste, I have many ideas and dreams, but one baby step at a time).

 ...So Let's dream and act! Thank you for your contribution!!!

PS:  If you want to help but can't make a contribution, please spread the word among your friends! Maybe you want to volunteer? You have some ideas, contacts? Maybe you want to be a partner of the project, to sponsor it? To give some in-kind materials/ services? If each of us makes a little something, we'll make this world better for everyone:) Together!

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