Awareness thru Art is part of the Illuminate Poverty initiative to articulate the realities of homelessness and poverty through social media and other expressive formats.
Kalyn Yasutake, a Billings Metro VISTA Project member, began working on this initiative when she began volunteer service at the City of Billings - Community Development Division in July 2013.
Box Mural Calendar
The Illuminate Poverty project has created various ways in which to help share the feelings and emotions of those that are experiencing homelessness or are at-risk of becoming homeless. One way accomplished was through the creation of a fundraising calendar that featured a box mural that took place at Billings Community Connect 2013.
At the seventh annual Billings Community Connect event in 2013, an art project was featured that allowed attendees and participants to paint phrases, words, or pictures on a mural of boxes. This box mural helped to capture the spirit of the event through the collage of pictures and words that covered the wall of boxes.
Phrases such as I am here and Do you see me? emerged from this art project and helped to share a powerful message about homelessness with the public. This calendar not only helped to raise awareness about homelessness but also raised money for the next Billings Community Connect through the sale of the calendars to community members.
Canvas Art Project
A canvas art project was featured at the next Billings Community Connect in 2014 where participants and volunteers could paint on three canvases of various sizes. The largest one, 48” by 48”, was gifted to Montana Rescue Mission as a thank you for their continued efforts in the community and for their employee chairing that year’s event.
The two smaller pieces, both 24” by 48”, were raffled off to the community and helped to raise money for future Billings Community Connect events.