Abrasive Media • September 20
by Catherine B. Randall
Nicole Brandt doesn’t give pocket change to the people we sometimes see bundled and huddled on the stairways of office buildings downtown. She is taking a fresh approach to helping the homeless by offering them the chance to create. Brandt serves as founder and executive director of the non-profit Poverty & the Arts. This 501(c3) has grown since its inception in the fall of 2011 and is hosting the second Poverty & the Arts Gala. This exhibit and auction will feature a variety of artwork ranging from abstract to oil, pastel, and watercolor. All pieces are created by the participants in the Adopt a Homeless Artist program.
Brandt admits that one of the obstacles of working with this population is their inconsistent attendance. Because their lives are unpredictable, meeting basic needs for food and shelter for the night takes precedence over art. In her opinion, that is all the more reason to provide these folks with this uncommon respite.
“When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you lose the freedom to dream. When they create something, they own it, and they’re able to dream again.” In those moments, “They’re not just surviving,” Brandt says.
The Poverty & the Arts Gala will be held at Abrasive Media on September 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. Visitors can meet the artists while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and wine. A portion of the proceeds will be given as compensation to the artists. Visit www.povertyandthearts.org for ticket information.