DescriptionI am 48 years old and was raised in Los Angeles, California. I served in the Military U.S. Army Corp of Engineers from 1983 to 1989. I have worked various jobs, but my proudest position was as a Docent at the California African American Museum for five years. My last profession was as a teacher’s aide for a private company. By October of 2010 I lost my job. Me and my wife struggled to keep up but by mid 2011 we became homeless. We are now living in separate transitional facilities. I have lived at the Weingart Center since February 2001, under the Veterans Program. I was told about the Lamp program and been a part of it ever since. The photo class has helped me extend my creative freedom. I might live in Skid Row but I am not helpless. My ambitions are unlimited as I strive to live a better 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.