Homeless Artists Transform School Bus to Tell Their Stories

I Have a Home Here

Mark Thayer

Street Sense’s Interactive Art Group has gone mobile. The collective seeks to show the community—through art— that they are more than just homeless. They have skills, they have talents and they have messages to share.

“It seems that the homeless don’t have any rights.” said Cynthia Mewborn, a Street Sense vendor and artist in the group. “A lot of people believe that housing is not a human right, but it is. Everyone deserves to be in a home—to be treated like a human.”

The Interactive Art Group is currently developing a mobile exhibit in the form of a retrofitted school bus. Mewborn is confident that “I Have a Home Here” will draw people’s attention. She believes it is a terrific way to educate people on the issue of homelessness.

“We will be out on the street, and [the bus] will draw attention. People will ask themselves ‘Wow, what is this?’” Mewborn said. “Sometimes the only way to get a response is to draw attention to the issue. We can stop people in their tracks with this.”

Interactive Art Bus

Showing people how the homeless population feels—through interactive art—can elevate the issue, and raise awareness in a positive way, according to Deana Elder, another Street Sense vendor and artist.

Bardia Saeedi is overseeing the development of I Have a Home Here as part of Street Sense’s artist-in-residence program. His group is in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to get the project off the ground.

Saeedi, an interactive artist, former IT executive, and “serial entrepreneur,” confessed a lack of prior involvement with the homeless. He was drawn to the issue after working with the Street Sense vendors in his group.

“As I worked with the artists, I learned their stories,” said Saeedi. “Every person has a story—these artists are more than homeless. This became an issue I wanted to address.”

Upon its completion, the bus will have three different spaces. The exterior is meant to be ever changing—a canvas that the group can design and re-design for any occasion. It will also accompany future “guerilla art performances,” according to Saeedi.

The group plans to transform the roof of the bus into a stage for live performances, while the interior will be reserved for artists to display interactive work and have the opportunity to tell their stories.

You can learn more about I Have a Home Here at www.ihaveahomehere.com

Issues |Housing

Region |Washington DC

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.