WHO WE ARE
Established in 2017, the I AM HOME Art Community is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to serving those who are unhoused or at risk of homelessness in Asheville, North Carolina, by providing a safe space where art is home. We empower the people who walk through our doors to express themselves through art and in the process experience healing, dignity, and hope. By providing access to materials, space, and gallery showings, we facilitate the opportunity for artists to receive 100% of proceeds from their art sales. Together, we cultivate an environment of respect and honor each individual’s own journey with the common ground of creativity.
The central hub of the I AM HOME Art Community is a free art room, hosted at the Haywood Street Congregation in downtown Asheville, open to all on Sundays 9 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (in conjunction with the days Haywood serves a free meal to the community). The room is stocked with art supplies, including canvases, paint, brushes, markers, gel pens, colored pencils, collage supplies, and more. Anyone is welcome to create art when the room is open and leave projects there for safekeeping to pick up or finish another day. A small group of volunteers help facilitate this space.
About three times per year, I AM HOME hosts an art show and sale, inviting in the Asheville community to view the artists’ work, hear their stories, and take home their art. These exhibitions cultivate an environment of respect and understanding for the artists, and they each keep 100% of the sales for their pieces. Ginger’s Revenge has generously hosted most past exhibitions.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
My name is Janet Taylor, I am the founder and director of the I AM HOME Art Community. The mission of this art initiative is to provide a safe and nurturing environment where those who find themselves homeless, or at risk of homelessness, can express themselves through art and in the process experience healing, dignity and hope.
There are days in one's life that forever change their world, and for me that was October 12, 1998. As my daughters and I were walking in downtown Austin, I spotted a homeless man selling a crude ashtray he had made. Compassion welled up in my children and they begged me to buy the ashtray, which I did. As my children rejoiced in their new piece of pottery, an idea began brewing in my heart: the homeless could make and sell art. I was able to spend two years as an Americorps volunteer bringing this thought to fruition.
In January 2017, I moved to Asheville, NC, to begin I AM HOME as a nonprofit. What I have discovered about the creation of art with people experiencing homelessness is that a new identity begins to evolve. The idea that one is not identified by where they do or don't live, but by who they truly are inside—a creator, an artist. Art also becomes a conduit for creating relationships with those outside the homeless community as respect and understanding are built around conversations with on another.
Haywood Street Congregation opened their arms to these aspirations by allowing the art project to begin meeting and creating art. I feel so fortunate to be able to be a part of what Haywood is doing in the Asheville community. There are few places that offer such unconditional love and acceptance to those around them!
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!
Asheville Area Arts Council
Haywood Street Congregation
North Carolina Arts Council
Voorhees Family Art Show