Published December 18, 2017
SEATTLE – When Louie Gong, a Nooksack tribal member and owner of Eighth Generation, recently visited the new 75 bed homeless shelter on the boarder of Beacon Hill and the International District, he was deeply impacted by the 20,000 square feet of blank white walls. Specifically, he saw them as a problem for the individuals coming there to start a new phase of life – one that his small, arts-based business could help solve.
“I knew Eighth Generation could call on its resources to help create a living space that was more conducive to a feeling of renewal and hopefulness,” Gong said.
Over the course of several months, Eighth Generation set out to recruit local organizations, small businesses and local artists who were willing to pitch-in on the project. The result was dozens of beautiful, professionally framed giclee prints, as well as a fully-designed 25′ x 15′ wall covering that was installed immediately across from the entrance to the building. It says, “The Journey Begins Here.”
The art was hung throughout the shelter, transforming the depressing 20k square foot institutional building into a place more conducive to physical and spiritual renewal.
One Navigation Center resident commented “To have this shelter bring in artwork makes me feel like a real human being. I literally want to cry.”
The total project cost exceeded $8,000. However, The Color Group donated $2,000 in printing and Pro Art Framing donated museum quality custom frames. Local nonprofits Chief Seattle Club and the Wing Luke Museum made monetary contributions. And, of course, local artists from a broad range of communities donated use of their work. Eighth Generation coordinated the project and covered the rest.
“We know we aren’t solving homelessness through projects like this,” Gong said. “But it’s a good example of how normal people can come together anytime they want and make a positive difference in their community.”
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This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.