The sacred streets Project is holistic integration of art and social engagement , created for and inspired by the homeless community. This project seeks to bring dignity to those individuals who have been eschewed by society.
Homelessness is a vast issue in America and if you live in The Orange or Los Angeles County you more than likely have experienced what it is like to live with, engage or avoid a homeless person. Most of the time, people tend to avoid these individuals, by simply ignoring them. Usually we walk the other way or avoid eye contact and roll up our car windows and pretend to look for something.
“Sometimes those individuals feel like a piece of cardboard on the street,” said Jason Leith, creator and artist of The Sacred Streets Project.
Leith’s goal wasn’t only to create art but he wanted to connect with the individuals in our society that have been sidestepped. He wanted the inspiration for the project to be able to witness the art, so he created a sacred space to display the artwork on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
Skid Row is a well known area that populates one of the largest homeless communities in United States. The sidewalks are paraded with these individuals and their cardboard box homes, tents and shopping carts.
This place served as Leith’s main inspiration for the project. This is where he met the individuals that inspired the 12 portraits displayed in a temporary structure in the heart of Skid Row.
The portraits were painted on unconventional materials that could be found on Skid Row such as cardboard boxes, pieces of wood, plastic bags, newspapers and clothing.
“The importance of that to me is that this is the stuff that they are surrounded by everyday, this is junk that they are very intimately related with,” Leith said.
This is why he wanted to turn these objects into something artistic to give these individuals something back. He spent hours on Skid Row getting to know these individuals that served as his inspiration. He wanted to connect with them and hopes to impact their lives.
Leith hopes that the audience gets to see the homeless community from a different perspective. These homeless individuals are still a part of our community and we need to realize that it is an ongoing problem and avoiding it won’t fix it.
Orange County can now witness this astounding project close to home. The art exhibit is now being hosted at the Begovich Gallery at Cal State Fullerton. It is a temporary exhibit that will run from now until Oct. 11, 2014.
For more information visit www.sacredstreets.org.