As an artist who works just a mile or two from LA’s Skid Row neighborhood, I regularly see the problems of the homeless in this major inner city area. The heartbreaking fact is that Los Angeles has one of the largest homeless populations in the country, with many thousands of people living on the streets. Driving through their neighborhood, seeing the tents and temporary shelters set up along many blocks of our city sidewalks has often brought tears to my eyes. This is one reasons I support giving back to the LAMP Community Skid Row Artists.
I recently watched an hour documentary called “Humble Beauty” about LAMP Community, a non-profit organization helping the homeless in Downtown Los Angeles with art therapy and other support. Afterward, I was so moved by some of the stories that I was inspired to make a donation of art supplies to the LAMP Arts Program, which helps rebuild lives by building self-esteem. Giving back to the community in this way, I can really impact some of these less fortunate people who say creating art gives them confidence and a sense of purpose.
“Some artists find their art supplies in garbage cans and dumpsters. They draw on old paper bags. Many have joined art workshops led by dedicated artist-social workers and are given paint, canvases, frames, easels and the technical, creative and supportive guidance to create remarkable, often therapeutic, works of art. Many of these artists have shown and sold their work in downtown LA galleries.” ~ from Humble Beauty Documentary Film Synopsis
Quotes from Lamp Community Humble Beauty Documentary About Art Therapy for Downtown Los Angeles Homesless
“Art Gives you Confidence and Self Esteem”
“Art is a therapy for people”
“Creativity is an essential part of life for him”
“Coming here gives me a feeling of belonging, otherwise I would be at home isolated in my little space.”
“LAMP helps you feel important”
“These are great human beings”
“Self actualization – find out who you are through the process of painting”
LAMP Community Supporting Homeless in Downtown Los Angeles
LAMP was originally founded as the non-profit Los Angeles Men’s Place back in 1985, as a drop–in place for homeless men with mental illness to find food and shelter. Located in the center of LA’s Skid Row, this organization now works towards ending homelessness, improving health, and building self-sufficiency amongst both men and women living with mental illness. Their facility provides 160 short-term emergency beds, showers and toilets, while working towards the greater goal of clean, safe, and affordable permanent housing. LAMP also assists by encouraging participation in mental health and recovery services, substance abuse programs, securing benefits, finding job opportunities, and money management advice.
Started in 1999, the LAMP Community Arts Program provides a free and creative avenue for self –expression to the temporary and permanent members of their community through painting and drawing classes, music studio sessions, writing and photography workshops, occasional art shows, and collaborative projects. As we all know, creating art can be very therapeutic and can help heal many wounds while also building confidence. This is one reason I enjoy teaching art classes, as many of my students tell me how much better they feel after a day of painting – it is like art therapy – and good for the soul!
As it says on the LAMP website, “The Arts Program plays a central role in the recovery and stability of many of its participants. Mental health professionals widely recognize that artistic expression can enhance the well-being of men and women living with mental illness while also serving as a bridge to other clinical and supportive services. Creative self-expression is a core component of an individual’s social health.” I could not agree more, therefore I am giving back with a donation in the form of art supplies of canvases and paints, so that others less fortunate may have the opportunity to paint and feel the freedom of creation.
I am so pleased to be able to give back to my community and hope that my contributions provide some joy and fun, as well as offering some stability in their otherwise turbulent world. I urge you to find out more about this wonderful organization and consider donating yourself!
“Art saved my life” ~ Clara Berta