“I believe in the power of art to transform lives.”
At the heart of that quote by Bo Bartlett is the primary reason his outreach organization began just over two years ago. Home is Where the Art is was started to provide a venue where local artists and students help guide and assist individuals in the homeless community to create their own unique pieces of art.
The organization is a collaboration with the Chattahoochee Valley Jail Ministries, SafeHouse at Rose Hill United Methodist Church and the Bo Bartlett Center. Bartlett has been encouraged by the community’s support of Home Is Where The Art Is.
“Local support for the program, which is facilitated through the Bo Bartlett Center and Columbus State University, has been overwhelming... especially with private, church and community support,” he said.
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Home Is Where The Art Is meets Thursday mornings at SafeHouse. Many local artists are involved in the program’s multifaceted operational needs.
“Marina Dunbar does an excellent job running the program week end week out,” Bartlett said. “Jan Miller will help facilitate this year's exhibition. Jo Ferris, Garry Pound, Suzanne Fine, Gloria Mani, Najee Dorsey, Helen Brooks, Steven Tette, Julianna Wells and many other students and local artists volunteer regularly with Home Is Where The Art Is. Many of these artist volunteers will have work at the exhibit- all created for the greater good.”
The exhibit will open at the Columbus Museum this coming week. This is the second exhibit for Home Is Where The Art Is hosted at the museum. Last year’s exhibit boasted over 100 pieces of artwork, and this year’s exhibition will feature over 20 different artists.
New this year is a group of four participants selected by the leadership team. Bartlett called these four artists this year’s “stand-out participants.”
“Max’s work was very popular in last year’s exhibition,” he said. “Sadie and Janie are two twins who have been very active and productive this year, and Trevis is one of our newer participants who is a highly creative and original artist.”
Work featured in the exhibition is created by both participants and volunteers working with Home Is Where The Art Is. Participants will get to keep 80 percent of the profits from their work, with the rest going back into the program to help with costs.
Bartlett said he is especially excited for patrons to see Max’s Cardboard Church, which is “an active scene sculpted out of found cardboard and replete with congregants.”
Everyone involved with Home Is Where The Art Is has seen great progress in all of the participants this year.
“It is rewarding all around to see the sense of pride taken in the work,” Bartlett said. “The reward is in the work itself. Seeing the confidence build in someone as they express themselves freely has been a revelation for all of us, participants and volunteers alike. It is like turning on a light switch. The participants just light up. They glow. The volunteers, too. Everyone gets closer and when we see one another out in the community. We are friends and check in and see how each other are doing.”
Patrons planning to attend the exhibit’s opening can expect to meet some of the participants and artists involved. Bartlett is a little concerned about construction on Wynnton Road delaying traffic. He suggested for patrons to plan to arrive early to avoid traffic, and beat the crowds as purchasing the art begins.
Bartlett believes in the program’s influence on all involved. “In these times, it is so important to reach out to others and find connection. We can become so siloed in our own little spheres. It helps all of us to experience something different from our norm, to walk a little in our brothers shoes, this exhibition is an opportunity to broaden our experience. To open our hearts.”
If you go
What: Home Is Where The Art Is
When: 5 p.m. April 27
Where: The Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road
Cost: Admission is free. Prices of artwork will vary.