One of the ideas we have had from the outset of the London Homelessness Outreach Network (www.londonhon.ca) is to connect the different groups in town who are doing creative arts. This includes but is not limited to fine arts at the London Coffee House, the Ark Aid Street Mission, and at WOTCH, and writing groups at My Sister’s Place and InterCommunity Health Centre. This initiative is being spearheaded by Kelly, who for the past 2 years has been running a creative writing group called Grit Uplifted (check out their amazing work at grituplifted.tumblr.com).
Kelly, for a long time, has had a dream of a regular publication that features the work of these groups. This is in part inspired by a book that was put out by Youth Opportunities Unlimited, called Flying a Sign, a portion of which can be seen here. The idea is to capture the text and the images in their unedited, pure form. This whole concept fits well with our idea of engaging with public perceptions around homelessness, particularly in profiling the skills and creativity of people who are experiencing homelessness.
The good news? The project is a go. We have enough submissions to begin with already, and are thinking about an early June opening that would include a reading of some of the work, and perhaps a display of the fine arts, would have a release of the first magazine, and would profile the next Grit Uplifted group that starts on June 18th at the Central Library. Having a great network of enthusiastic people is what is making this possible.