Homelessness is spiking in San Diego.
When the arts nonprofit The Aja Project set out to address one of the city’s biggest hot-button issues, it briefly considered tackling sex trafficking or the drought, but ultimately decided it had to focus on the people living on the streets.
“Homelessness definitely rose to the top as the loudest social conversation happening in San Diego right now,” said Melinda Chiment, executive director of The AjA Project.
The arts group, known for its public art that addresses social issues and enrolls community members in the creative process, kicked off the homelessness project with a discussion between various stakeholders, including service providers, advocates, activists, business owners and people who’ve been homelessness in the past.
Aja held more workshops and conversations and eventually found nine community participants who were photographed, filmed and asked to offer their takes on homelessness. The resulting project is called “(Un)Sheltered + Conversations,” and it includes a large photo mural mounted at Sixth Avenue and Pennsylvania Street in Hillcrest, plus an online media gallery where folks can listen to the interviews and upload their own stories, photos and videos about homelessness in San Diego.
Maria Ríos-Mathioudakis, Aja’s program and artistic coordinator who took the lead on the project, said the goal of the mural and website is to keep pushing the conversation about homelessness forward.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Local curator needs a refresher course on border history. She wasn't even born maybe when real first time border art started back in the day. Ever hear of InSite? She never asked to see my Council for Humanities video documentary dated 1990. Get off the campus sister.
A photo mural on homelessness showing a bunch of fashionably-dressed, probably affluent, people? It could be an ad for the Amazon Echo. I think there may be a stakeholder missing from the mural?