Description By Gary BrownAn artist and jazz musician, Gary Brown was born in Louisiana in 1952 and lived there 38 years before moving to Los Angeles, where he has been part of the downtown community for more than 20 years. Gary creates work on paper and canvas using graphite, inks, pastel and acrylics. His influences range from the world immediately around him to Egyptian mythology. “Making art is like a mystery,” he said. “And I never had much mystery in my life.”
Lamp Art Project, Los Angeles - Skid Row community Member Since June 2011 Artist Statement Lamp Art Project, a pioneering art collective in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, was founded in 1999 as a program to offer members and the community as a whole a safe and encouraging environment to express themselves creatively, find empowerment, and supplement their income through artistic development. Guided by professional artist Hayk Makhmuryan and guest instructors, participants receive training and technical support in drawing, painting, ceramics and other media.
Beth Stirnaman, a Southern California based photographer worked with Hayk for six weeks to give an opportunity for these individuals to share their normally unseen perspectives of the city through the lens of a camera. Lamp is grateful to Beth Stirnaman and Samy's Camera for their donated time and equipment to give formerly homeless and men and women on Skid Row a voice. You can learn more about Beth’s work and Samy’s Camera by visiting bethshootspeople.com and samys.com. You can also see the documentary of the photography program at buzzfeed.com.
More than simply providing an opportunity to develop skills and technique, the Art Project plays a central role in the recovery and stability of numerous clients. Mental health professionals widely recognize that artistic expression can enhance the well-being and livelihood of men and women living with mental illness while also serving as a bridge to other clinical and supportive services. In past years, more than 70% of Art Project participants have shown increased use of mental health services, which in turn leads to increased wellness and self-sufficiency.
Lamp has long been a trailblazer in permanent supportive housing and harm reduction. Central to this notion is the agency's commitment to continuously develop programming that is both innovative and effective in meeting the unique needs of homeless individuals living with mental illness and other co-occurring disorders. For more than a decade, the Art Project has served as a shining example of Lamp's innovative, service-enriched model.
For more information about Lamp Community, please visit lampcommunity.org.
Fifty percent of the proceeds from the sales will benefit individual artists and the other 50% will go to Lamp to support the Fine Arts Program.