Conclusion: Art and Engagement

In contemporary discussions of homelessness, people are often portrayed as personally misguided in some way. They are drug addicts and mentally ill. They are lazy and criminal.

This argument was not common during the Great Depression when people experienced forces outside of their control that led to difficulties for their neighbors and themselves. Yet today’s social and economic forces are just as strong and just as real as they
were during the Depression.

What has changed our perceptions? What is the role of government in our lives and in protecting people from the destructive forces of the world?

Some of the artists in this exhibition personally experienced homelessness and poverty, some worked directly with organizations to combat poverty. All of them felt that their art could be used to focus attention on issues of homelessness. The idea that artists through their art function in society by engaging in the struggle for a better world, and that everyone should take an interest in the well-being of less fortunate people are the twin beliefs of the artists in this show.

Listen to the curator Art Hazelwood’s thoughts:{audio}mp3/Art_Hazelwood_end.mp3{/audio}

Listen to the thoughts of Paul Boden, Western Regional Advocacy Project:{audio}mp3/Paul_Boden_end.mp3{/audio}