Feeling the Open Doors CLE Project
The Open Doors CLE Project is a wonderful collaboration! The purpose of it is to “develop a stronger relationship between those experiencing homelessness and those in stable housing, give a voice to the homeless community, raise awareness of the current condition of homelessness to the stable housing community, and set the groundwork for future dialogue and inspiration for the communities support for each other”, in the words of the artists’ themselves. Here is a copy of the video from the Willard Park event.
I was very impressed with this project being interactive. You could actually walk through the doors which made it easy to read both sides of each door. What really surprised me was the feelings that overcame me as I stood reading the messages and the articles or observing the items on the doors. I could feel the messages the writers were desperately trying to convey. So, there was a different experience in between each door all the way to the last door.
As I walked through the last door, I had a feeling of relief, like I’m finally free. It was similar to the feeling of finally being able to leave the shelter. I would imagine that everyone’s experience was different, but the messages and design on the doors served their purpose. Being able to walk through the doors, to me, was a very important component of this project and I would like to commend the artists’ for their creativity. In the artists’ words, “When participants go through the door, they find themselves in the same public space, lacking the warmth and safety of a home that they expect to find on the other side."
This project came about at a time when the homeless population really needed to have attention brought to their situation and have an outlet to express themselves. Especially, the women at the women’s shelter due to a tremendous disappointment they recently experienced (not being able to change service providers). It is very difficult to find housing, funding is being cut, and families have to separate. Being homeless is very hard on the mind, body, and soul. It takes a toll on your sense of self, beliefs, pride, faith, and desire to live.
You have to be very strong willed to survive homelessness in this society. Most people don't realize how devastating being homeless can be. Through projects like Open Doors CLE, you don’t have to experience homelessness in order to better understand it. Bless the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) students and their instructor (Anastasia) for choosing to focus on the homeless population in Cleveland. Thank you for giving homeless people the opportunity to vent and express themselves, and for bringing awareness to this crisis which is growing all across our country. Thank you for all your hard work.
By Ramona Turnbull
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