Love Thy Neighbor: Connecting Community & Art
Updated: May 9
On March 13th, my work will be showcased in the 6th Annual Open Door Showcase from 4pm to midnight at The Dogwood.
If you aren't already aware of the powerful impact that Open Door Showcase has on the community of Austin, let me fill you in!
& Founder of Design Changes Lives
Open Door Showcase strives to encompass everything there is to love about Austin: live music, support of local business (*ahem*) and strengthening our community. Working with Austin Habitat for Humanity and Design Changes Lives, Open Door Showcase enables sponsors to build a sustainable future for a deserving family and child in need.
I have donated an original piece "Love Thy Neighbor" mixed media on canvas 40" x 40" to auction off at the event's silent auction with proceeds benefiting both Austin Habitat for Humanity and Design Changes Lives.
Having a home is a basic need - not a shelter or a tent but something that provides comfort, security, and holds memories. I love the work the Habitat for Humanity does, building structures and homes for people who need them while bringing a community of people together. While constructing a home, bonds between volunteers are created and teamwork evolves into something that elevates the community and instills a greater sense of purpose.
Everyone at some time has been down on their luck. Whether they lost a job, a major health scare presented itself, an act of nature occurred, or decisions were not weighed out - everyone has endured, or will endure, a time in their life that feels like bottom.
I have experienced what it is like to not have a home - my apartment building in college was arsoned losing my security, comfort, and belongings. I half expected to endure this life experience alone and drop out of school to rebuild my life, but my mother was key to keeping me on track and staying the course of my studies.
Immediately, I was surrounded and supported by my sorority sisters who took me in and gave me clothing while my school reached out to offer free housing for the remainder of the year. While I was fortunate enough to have a college and sorority group that rallied together and provided me with aid, other young tenants who lived on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building were not as lucky to have a similar community to fall back on. Their security deposits were refunded but their belongings and memories were not as easy to restore.
Reflecting on this incident, I can see how a tragedy similar to this could completely uproot a person or families life, and ultimately, force them into the homeless population. When people see the homeless it is usually assumed that their trajectory to their current situation involved drugs, alcohol, or mental illness but that may not be the case. Anything can happen at any time to any one of us and to have us standing in the similar shoes of that man, woman, or child you see at the intersection or underpass.
"Love Thy Neighbor" represents the bridge between seeing someone in need and lending the hand to help. The broken arch can be representative of the gap or self-doubt one experiences before taking the step forwards towards volunteering or involvement. It's like a momentary "should I do this", "how would I go about doing this", "what would come of this" pause. There is a start and an end, the middle expresses the need for action.
More about the Organizations
Design Changes Lives
Launched by Jessica Love, Design Changes Lives is a 501c3 nonprofit that connects interior designers with low-income families to design bedrooms for children in need to help build confidence, empower and improve the quality of their lives.
Austin Habitat homes are built through the generosity of our donors and hard work of our volunteers. Many times, these individuals are the same.