Public Art Installation "HOME" Explores Homelessness in Stamford

On Thursday November 10, 2016, a press conference was held at the Stamford Government Center to announce the launch of the public art installation, HOME.

HOME explored the universal meaning of home, the tragedy of homelessness, and the need for affordable housing in our towns and communities.

The artists behind the project are Elena Kalman and Susan Hoffman Fishman.

In Stamford, the artists partnered with Opening Doors Fairfield County member agencies New Neighborhoods, Inc. and Pacific House (formerly Shelter for the Homeless).

The project was funded by the City of Stamford’s Community Arts Partnership Program, Stamford 375 Years Strong, and M&T Bank.

At the press conference, Ross Burkhardt, Executive Director of New Neighborhoods, Inc, explained the project was a community process that invited people to sit down and express themselves and think about what home means to them.

Rafael Pagan Jr., Executive Director of Pacific House, said, “It’s a beautiful way to express what we feel about what homelessness means to us.”

Ross also introduced Adam Bovilsky, co-chair of Opening Doors Fairfield County.

Adam highlighted ODFC’s role in ending chronic veteran homelessness in August of last year, and all forms of veteran homelessness in February of this year.

Speaking about HOME, Adam described the project, and the installation at the Stamford Government Center, as a “rare moment where we bring homelessness to the collective consciousness of our community.”

When artists Elena Kalman and Susan Hoffman Fishman spoke, they described the process of working with adults and children in the community to create the project.

The artists were at 7 community art events in Stamford, and 1 in Darien. The participants were given a prompt, and were asked to express what home meant to them.

Some drew pictures, some wrote text, some utilized both. The result is the diverse array of perspectives and messages that make up the physical house.

It was a powerful experience to actually walk inside the structure.

One message from Ross Burkhardt really resonated from the press conference:

“The sky is the limit if you have a permanent roof over your head.”

Photos courtesy New Neighborhoods, Inc.