WASHINGTON – A group of artists brought a school atmosphere to the streets of downtown Washington last week with chalk and school bus, hoping to have fun and send a message.
Artists from two organizations, the Illumination Coalition and Street Sense, came together to raise awareness about homeless children. Rather than passing out pamphlets or holding signs, they decided to take a new, interactive approach and have artists and passersby draw on the side of school bus with chalk.
The exhibit was one in a series of events by the two groups that are focused on raising awareness about homeless populations. Previously, they have done exhibits to demonstrate the trapped feeling of homelessness by creating a series of doors that lead to nowhere.
At one exhibit, they wrapped the bus in cellophane to represent the homeless population as an invisible population after they, ironically, were ignored by a group of protesters raising awareness about homelessness.
One in 50 children is homeless each year in the U.S., according to a report published in November. In the District of Columbia, the number of homeless children grew from 5,384 in the 2010-2011 school year to 6,506 two years later.
The Illumination Coalition is a group of artists who create interactive and participatory art. Street Sense is a nonprofit that publishes a newspaper, mostly written and sold by homeless people. Many of those who worked as artists for the child homelessness exhibit are or have been homeless.
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Download photos: Homeless-kids.zip