Art for Change: The Artist & Homeless Collaborative

December 3, 2021 – April 3, 2022

Art for Change: The Artist & Homeless Collaborative examines the history of modern homelessness in New York City through the lens of the Artist & Homeless Collaborative, a public art project founded in 1990 by multidisciplinary artist Hope Sandrow. The program, which connected women from the Park Avenue Armory Shelter for Homeless Women with artists, curators, and activists, provided a vehicle for the women to tell their stories, work creatively, and build relationships. On view in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, the exhibition looks at the transformative potential of art in public and private life through a selection of art projects led by John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, Ida Applebroog, the Guerrilla Girls, Hope Sandrow, Judith Shea, Kiki Smith, among others. 

Art for Change includes John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres’s Ernestine and Three Friends (1992)—a group of painted plaster life-cast busts of four shelter residents held in New-York Historical’s collections. Examples of work created by participants and artists on view include self-portraits, photography, mixed media, pin-back buttons, writings, and other artistic expressions. The exhibition also features the work of advocates and artists that were a direct response to the homeless crisis in New York of the late 1970s and 1980s as well as more recent works from artists and art groups that continue to bring art into shelters, using it as an opportunity to build relationships and as a way for people to tell their stories.

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Curated by Rebecca Klassen, associate curator of material culture, and Laura Mogulescu, curator of women’s history collections, with Tracey Johnson, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the Center for Women’s History, and curatorial intern Lisa Diaz Louis.

Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Evelyn & Seymour Neuman Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.



Media sponsor:

Creative: Tronvig Group