A paint brush is not often the weapon of choice in the war against homelessness, but that is what Depaul USA will use to draw attention to the plight of homeless individuals and families.
The non-profit homes advocate organization opened the exhibition, “Pop Icons and Abstractions: The Art of Dennis Jones,” this week at the Gallery at Depaul House, 5725 Sprague Street. The exhibition will run through the summer.
Jones, formerly homeless, used art to pull himself out of a bad situation. Now he is what could be considered an established artist, with his works for sale and hanging in various Starbucks outlets. Jones’ work was also displayed earlier this month in the University of the Arts exhibit, “Our Voice, Our Art, Our Time.”
The purpose of the gallery “is to create an authentic third place where the men of Depaul House and members of the larger community can encounter and enrich each other,” said Depaul USA Executive Director Charles Levesque.
The Depaul House has advocated on behalf of the homeless since its founding in 2004. It is an offshoot of Depaul UK, which formed in 1989 on a directive from the late Cardinal Basil Hume, who brought together the Daughters of Charity, St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Passage in Victoria to create a shelter system for the youths sleeping in London’s gutters. The Depaul international family of charities now has five chapters in five countries.
Currently, the Depaul House in Germantown offers transitional housing for up to 27 men.
Using art to bring attention to the homelessness epidemic isn’t a new tactic for Depaul House officials, who use other attention-grabbing methods, such as night-out events and bike rides. Recently, the Depaul House founded Immaculate Cleaning Service, a for-profit initiative that will employ Depaul House residents, with a portion of their wages going towards covering costs associated with running the home.