Art show dazzles at Army housing facility
By Craig Dirkes, writer and photographer for The Salvation Army Northern Division
Creative talent was on display Feb. 16 at The Salvation Army HOPE Harbor housing facility in Minneapolis, where eight residents spent the afternoon showcasing their artistic skills – from paintings, to jewelry, to drawings, to photography.
“We have amazing artists living here,” said Molly Schuneman, a HOPE Harbor case manager. “They do amazing things, and we want everyone to know about them.”
A resident named Chuck (pictured at top) displayed three of his paintings. The 63-year-old first started painting in 1991 and now does it daily.
“Every time I paint, I grow closer to God,” said Chuck, who spent much of his life working as an auto painter. “To me it’s a form of worship.”
Chuck moved into HOPE Harbor in 2004 after being homeless for two years. He’s been sober since April 11, 2004. He has worked for 47 years of his life, but had to stop in January after suffering a stroke.
“Work and love are two important things in life,” Chuck said. “Everybody should have work and love.”
He is currently working on a series of paintings focused on life in the city. Recently he’d been painting rural scenes (pictured right).
“I walk around the city every day and get new ideas,” Chuck said. “I love the energy and the activity.”
Another resident, named Zulu (pictured left), showed some of his drawings. The 78-year-old has been drawing for about 40 years.
Zulu’s inspiration to draw came from a fellow soldier he met while serving in the U.S. Army. “We called him Charlie Brown,” Zulu recalled. “He was the best artist I have ever seen. He showed me some tricks of the trade. I’ve been drawing ever since.”
Occasionally, people hire Zulu to draw portraits.
“That gives me good satisfaction,” he said.
Zulu’s all-time favorite drawing depicts a group of ballet dancers in Manhattan (pictured right).
“I drew it during a sad time in my life,” said Zulu, who spent much of his life working as a consultant for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. “A lot of people have asked to buy it. But I haven’t wanted to sell it.”
In addition to dazzling artwork, the Art Show featured a live DJ, dance party, and refreshments.
About HOPE Harbor
HOPE Harbor is a 96-unit permanent supportive housing complex for low-income single adults.
About half of HOPE Harbor residents live with a physical or mental disability. These residents pay rent on a sliding scale equal to 30 percent of their income. Other residents are employed and pay rent at market rate.
HOPE Harbor is a fun place to live, with all sorts of activities for residents to enjoy. There are chili cook-offs, holiday parties and Bible studies. There’s also yoga, life skills education, tickets to sporting events, and a weekly coffee hour.
“Coffee hour has become the place to be,” said HOPE Harbor case worker Krista Pinewski, noting that weekly attendance has grown from a few people to well over a dozen. “The place is filled with joy and laughter.”
HOPE stands for Housing Opportunities for People to Excel.
“There are some incredible people who live here, and we are blessed to have them,” Schuneman said.
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