Description I 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 teachers 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 ARTS PROGRAM is a safe and nurturing community space for residents of Los Angeles Skid Row to confront the stigma of homelessness, poverty, and mental illness by coming together, reclaiming confidence in self-expression, and starting alternative and unexpected dialogues across geographic and social boundaries.
Fifty percent of the proceeds from the sales will go directly to individual artists and the other 50% will go to Lamp to support the Fine Arts Program.
Lamp Arts Program (then Lamp Art Project) was founded by Rory White in 1999 as an internal program to offer Lamp members a safe and encouraging environment to express themselves creatively, find empowerment, and supplement their income through artistic development. Since 2008, it is led by community arts advocate Hayk Makhmuryan. The project expanded to become a community arts program in January of 2012, gradually adding music, creative writing, photography and other creative outlets with support from guest artists and resident volunteers.
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.
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 Lamp Arts Program has served as a shining example of Lamp's innovative, service-enriched model.
For more information about Lamp Community, please visit www. lampcommunity.org.