Walk on by….Homelessness as seen through the eyes of local Artists

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Walk on by…

Homelessness Seen Through the Eyes of Local Artists                  at Future Tenant Gallery


Opening Reception at Future Tenant March 24 – 6-9pm


Contact info for media jay.poliziani@ncmin.org or text 4123023528


More than one thousand homeless men and women are on the streets of Allegheny County on any given day, but most of us walk right past them as if they were not even there.


Walk on By: An Exploration of homelessness through the eyes of local artists each using their own medium.


“When I came here I would see homeless people and I was surprised at how other people looked away,” said sculptor Daniel See who had a very different experience with homelessness in his native Singapore. “There is a stigma that I am trying to bridge through my art.”


See asked residents at the Northside Common Ministries Pleasant Valley Shelter to grasp lumps of clay and then used that imprint to create mugs.


“ The molds capture the ghosts of something,” See said. “Invisible is what the homeless are to most people.”


Other artists explore homelessness through video, zines, comics, painting and drawing.


“Art provides an opportunity to bring new people into a dialogue around an issue,” Says Jay Poliziani, Director of Pleasant Valley Men’s Shelter for men experiencing homelessness “In this instance we can look at homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in a way that might help us better understand the problem and our own relationship to it.”


Walk on By opens with a preview party, March 24th, 6 to 9pm at Future Tenant, 819 Penn Ave.  The event includes works from Sculptor Daniel See, Videographers Steve Mellon and  Mark Janavel, Photographers Renee Rosensteel and Jennifer Safron, painter Denis Bergevin, Youth from the 412 Youth Zone, local cartoonists, actors from Playback theater and more.

The works will remain on display through April 2nd.  Additional information can be found at www.ncmin.org under events.


March 23rd -5:30-8pm   Panel discussion about the challenges Pittsburgh faces related to homelessness and its intersection with the lack of  affordable housing.

Members of the community are invited to join in on the discussion which will include representatives of programs charged with addressing homelessness and oversight of programs addressing the lack of affordable housing.  Two six-eight foot tables along the back wall of the space in front of the art with eight chairs behind the tables and appx 20 chairs facing the tables .Appx attendance 20-30 people. Table for food and Bar set up.



March 24 evening opening— 4pm( set up) 6-9pm (reception) Playback theater on site

               Playback Theater Actors will converse with the people in attendance from appx. 5:30-6:30pm –the conversations will give the actors the information they need for their “playback”. 

               Playback theater will “playback” what they heard from the audience related to their experiences and knowledge about homelessness at 7pm. This will last appx 30 minutes and take place in the back left corner of the gallery space. Attendees will be asked to congregate in that space in a semi-circle. The space will remain open for people to view the art during the performance. No specific staging or props are required for this show.

Anticipated attendees 100 people in and out during the opening reception. Bar set up


March 25th 3pm-5pm—Home building—oragami homes will be built by gallery guests with the help of the volunteers from the Homeless Children’s Education Fund (HCEF). A lesson about homelessness will accompany the creations as they are made. Two eight foot tables run down the length of the space with six chairs at each tables will be needed. Appx attendance about 10-20 people.




April1st 4pm(setup) 5-8pm Artists on site for hands on clay project – Daniel See (and assistants) the clay artists will work with visitors to the space on a small clay  piece they create related to the exhibit topic. For this event Daniel will need two six or eight foot tables run the length of the space with 6 chairs at each table.   Anticipated attendees 30-50 people during the period of time designated. Bar set up



April 2nd  Homeless Children’s Education Fund small reception for 60-80 high school students 5-6:30pm. This event will be a chance for the youth to view the art and debrief from the earlier activity they participated in at the August Wilson center. HCEF staff will oversee food set and will provide music as needed (no set up required –small “boom box”)- one six or eight foot table for food and drinks needed- no chairs needed.

This collaborative project is supported by a variety of local programs which serve the needs of the local homeless community including The Homeless Advisory Board, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Community Human Services, the Homeless Children’s Education Fund and Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The exhibit is made possible from a generous donation from the SPROUT Fund and the Future Tenant Residency Program.

Author: ncmin