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Homeless Art Collective finds a permanent home

For those experiencing homelessness fulfilling immediate needs around food, shelter and safety are incredibly important. However, it’s also important, that as people, we are able to fulfill needs that aren't just centered around survival, but also joy.

That's why the Art Collective at Interfaith Sanctuary is so crucial. The program provides a space for artists and makers to gather and create. And this Saturday the collective will be celebrating the grand opening of their permanent retail space for artists experiencing homelessness.

Interfaith Sanctuary

Interfaith Sanctuary's Executive Director Jodi Peterson says it all got started by a guest who was staying at the shelter.

Art by Jose Miguel Bocanegra
Interfaith Sanctuary
Art by Jose Miguel Bocanegra

"He had been flying a sign to get some cash and just started to feel really invisible. Like people just didn't really look at him and stuff and it made him sad. And so one day he decided he would set up his easel with a canvas on the same street corner, and suddenly people started rolling down their window and talking to him. And one woman actually showed up one day with canvases for him to paint on. And then they started asking if he could make paintings for him. And so it really turned him around and really got him on the right track. And he wanted that feeling for others in the unhoused community that he knew were also artists. So he asked if I would help him create like some way to connect our unhoused population with art," says Peterson.

That lead to the Homeless Art Collective.

One of the first things you lose when you lose your housing, is you lose all your stuff and you lose that idea that I am an artist.
Jodi Peterson, Executive Director Interfaith Sanctuary

Ashley is part of the Collective and says it's helped her work through staying at the shelter.

"Being able to go into the art room and spend a couple of hours to do a couple of pieces, a couple of dreamcatchers or whatever that helps me keep it helps keep me distracted from the struggles that I'm going through right now," says Ashley.

Ashley Parks
Interfaith Sanctuary

She says all the excitement over her fiber art has been exciting.

What I do kind of gives me a sense of pride and it boosts my confidence.

Peterson says the Art Collective is vital for her guests' wellbeing.

"I think in order for us to help create an opportunity for someone to find their way back out of homelessness. They have to feel connected and they have to have balance and support. And you can't just do that by opening up a shelter door and saying, lay down, go to sleep, have a meal, see you later," says Peterson.

The grand opening of the permanent retail space for the Homeless Art Collective kicks off Saturday.

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Hi, my name is Hannah and I’m the assistant producer for the Idaho Matters show here at BSPR. If you have a suggestion for an Idaho Matters segment, please email