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Using Art to Explore the Impact of Foreclosure

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Jun 27, 2016

As the housing bubble burst in 2008, millions of Americans faced the possibility of losing their home through foreclosure. This process has had widespread, devastating implications, and artists have been instrumental in framing the discussion, supporting advocacy, and catalyzing community-building. At Shelterforce, Lillian Ortiz highlights artistic interventions in the foreclosure crisis, focusing in particular on City Life/Vida Urbana (Boston, MA) and Poetry for People (Minneapolis, MN).

In Boston, artist John Hulsey produced “72 Hours,” “a movie of sorts where shadowy outlines of people were projected onto the windows of foreclosed homes subject to eviction blockades and empty bank-owned houses in neighborhoods like Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Dorchester…The scenes depicted real families retelling and re-enacting what happened after they received a 72-hour eviction notice.” According to the artist’s website, the projections were meant to “put pressure on the banks by making human absences visible and felt.”

Hulsey’s project provided an emotional recasting of the bureaucratic process of foreclosure, but it also helped get the word out about grassroots organizations, such as City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU), that were helping affected families. As a result, CLVU received a surge in support from local community members.

Ultimately, the case studies suggest the potency of using artistic practice to explore, problematize, and draw attention to America’s housing crisis.

Read the full article here.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.