Those working to eliminate homelessness in the community recognize there’s a thin line between giving young ones an awareness of difficult community issues and creating fear.
“Talking to kids about housing and homelessness is sensitive,” said Joe Mauthe, executive director of Pillars, Inc.
Leaders decided it was time to get creative — in the most literal sense of the word.
Pillars hosted its first Art Jam on Saturday at Appleton’s Memorial Park. The goal of the event was to open minds to the issue of housing instability and homelessness in a warm and welcoming environment while offering creating a fun and creative opportunity to give toward the cause.
Painters of all ages sat at picnic tables and worked from paper plate pallets from the pavilion overlooking the pond.
It was a morning of giving and receiving.
“They’re making a piece that they’ll taken with them and they’ll make a piece that’ll go to those moving into a home,” said Lisa Geiger, events coordinator.
Pillars provides shelter, support, and solutions to address housing needs.
The organization provides more than 45,000 nights of shelter annually and provides safe, affordable homes to nearly 150 households.
Geiger said the original art will provide families and individuals with a sense of the community’s support as they arrive at the long awaited place called home.
The finished works showed that Pillars accomplished the goals set out for the morning at the park.
Paintings of bright colors carried messages of hope and encouragement.
Scott Peeples, senior director of community engagement, said the art goes directly to the idea that addressing housing issues goes beyond shelter.
Building spirits is crucial to the mission.
“This is about being supportive,” Peeples said. “Spreading joy is part of what we’re doing.”