FYC: Signs of Awareness

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For Your Consideration | July 9, 2014

FB - Homeless Signs

Artist Willie Baronet standing before his installation of homeless signs, Dallas

Welcome back to our series highlighting the considerate ways in which we engage those that suffer on the margins of society. Be sure to visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly. Enjoy!

All the recent talk about our upcoming “Art With Heart” showcase – and the potential of art to not only give voice to our guests, but to also raise awareness – has got us thinking…

Today’s post for consideration introduces us to artist Willie Baronet of Dallas. Strewn on the floor of his gallery are cardboard pieces of artwork in a hopscotch form. Visitors skip their way down the squares… “Anything Will Help” “Out of Work” “Stranded & Hungry”… Baronet explains, “There is a moment when they realize they’re stepping on a homeless sign, and they have this visceral reaction. The symbolism of that to me is profound. I believe we all sometimes step on the homeless metaphorically without meaning to…. I find it odd that somebody would think that stepping on a piece of cardboard on a gallery floor is a big deal when they might be willing to ignore a person day after day.”

In considering this, one of our Saint André Bessette staff team members recounted, “The first time my mom visited me while I was studying abroad, I remember passing a homeless person holding a sign. It read: J’ai Faim. My mom, who cannot pass someone in need without helping out, asked me what the sign said. I was hesitant to tell her… but finally, I translated: I’m hungry. She teared up and pulled some cash from her pocket, completely disregarding any exchange rate at the time – it was probably $20 or $30. That sign meant something to her. I think these signs should really mean something to everyone.”

Baronet purchases signs from those in need. He estimates that he has spent nearly $7,000 on signs in his local area over the last two decades. Next up? Baronet is currently planning cross-country travels to buy even more signs and hopefully raise awareness nationwide.

Have Art. Will Travel.

Read the full article on Yahoo News HERE.

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