It was the biggest show yet.
For the past four years, clients in Housing Works’ art therapy program have had the chance to share their art with a broader audience. This year’s exhibition, held at the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation in SoHo in late July, featured the work of at least 35 clients—and brought in the largest number of patrons thus far.
Among the clients with work on display was Jada Fredericks, 29. Four years ago, when she came to Housing Works, she was homeless, HIV-positive, and hardened by the discrimination she’d experienced as a transgender woman. Housing Works became her rock: She signed up for our Transgender Transitional Housing Program, which gave her a place to live until she could find an apartment of her own. She enrolled in primary care and mental health services.
She also started attending our creative art therapy program.
In hard times, she said, art has been her most reliable companion.
“I was going through a really, really rough time,” she said. “And I’ve found that art allows me to get out and explain my life in terms of why I am who I am without having to put everything into words.”
She’s been an artist since she was six, when she began designing clothing for her sister’s Barbie dolls. For the client art show—her first—she designed a silky leopard-print dress and asked a friend to create a matching gold mask.
The mannequin wearing it, she said, is also HIV-positive. “She and I collaborated and decided that HIV does not have us—we have HIV.”blog comments powered by Disqus