Feature: Giving Voices to Those Without Homes

By Mariah McBride




“BED SHOE HOME” is an art exhibit at the campus YMCA that aims to give a voice to the homeless. This community art action developed around a year ago when the Y’s art program decided to collaborate with the school of Art + Design and the school of Social Work.

From there, the Y’s art program reached out to visual artist Jane Gilmor, who got to action immediately. Together, they wanted to inform the public about the housing crisis for low-income families and the under-sheltered in Champaign-Urbana. The exhibit features drawings and writings on foil created by homeless in the community who wish to remain anonymous.

All the art was created at Gilmor’s workshops. At the workshops, she instructed her class to close their eyes for five minutes and then write about their lives, stories, feelings and hopes.

“It’s not really my art. Other than…I taught them how to use those materials to have a voice of their own,” Gilmor explained.

She wants those who have seen the collection to know the project would not have been possible without the participants and every one part of the YMCA staff, especially Ann Ramus, Julia Kellman and Tyler Denmead. She also thanks the school of Art + Design and Social Work.

Lastly, there is no doubt that Gilmor dedicated this exhibit to those without housing. “I hope that they see them as individuals rather than as a group that they stereotype,” she said.

BED SHOE HOME launched in January, but it will remain open until March 17. Take some time to listen to the stories of those in YOUR community. They have a voice too.



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