My name is Janet Taylor, I am the founder and director of the I Am Home art project. The mission of this art initiative is to provide a safe and nurturing environment where those who find themselves homeless, or at risk can express themselves through art and in the process experience healing, dignity and hope.
There are days in ones life that forever change their world, for me it was October 12, 1998. As my daughters and I were walking in downtown Austin, I spotted a homeless man selling a crude ashtray he had made. Compassion welled up in my children and they begged me to buy the ashtray, which I did. As my children rejoiced in their new piece of pottery an idea began brewing in my heart; “the homeless could make and sell art.” I was able to spend two years as an Americorps volunteer bringing this thought to fruition.
In January 2017 I moved to Asheville to begin the I Am Home art project as a nonprofit. What I have discovered about the creation of art with the homeless is that a new identity begins to evolve. The idea that one is not identified by where they do or don't live but by who they truly are inside, a creator, an artist. Art also becomes a conduit for creating relationships with those outside the homeless community as respect and understanding are built around conversations with on another.
Haywood St. Congregation opened their arms to these aspirations by allowing the art project to began meeting and creating art every Wednesday from 10-12. I feel so fortunate to be able to be a part of what Haywood is doing in the Asheville community. There are few places that offer such unconditional love and acceptance to those around them!
A group of volunteers and artists from various backgrounds that come together to commune and create. We cultivate an environment of respect and honor each individuals own journey with the common ground of creativity.