Connecting to the Community 

OSLP’s Art and Culture Center hosts hosts an exhibit by unhoused artists 

Photo courtesy of OSLP Arts and Culture Center

It’s the discovery of artistic talent that counts for some. In other cases, it’s the rekindling of artistic talent and the love of creating art that had been dormant. No matter the background, the work of 16 unhoused artists is now on display with the Community is Key exhibit at the Oregon Supported Living Program Arts and Culture Center. “What they offer is very comprehensive,” says Mija Andrade, the center’s director, of the artists and their works. OSLP partnered with Community Supported Shelters last fall to provide an open studio art class once a week for their clients. CSS quickly noted an increase in morale and higher programming participation rate for the attendees. One of them is Mary Wagge, a lifelong Oregon resident who is a grandmother of nine, a great-grandmother of two and relatively new to art. “I discovered about three years ago at a shelter program that I’m pretty artistic!” she says in her artist statement. Then there’s Joshua Collins. He has studied art at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque as well as Wittenberg University in Ohio and was a resident artist at the Curley School in Ajo, Arizona. In addition to individual art, OSLP is showcasing community pieces by the artists, staff and volunteers. They include the large-scale “Key” piece, a collaborative effort representing the importance of safety and home, and an art covered Conestoga Hut. Proceeds from all sales go to the artists and the OSLP Arts and Culture Center to fund future programs.      

The Community is Key exhibition runs through August 23 at the OSLP Arts and Culture Center, 110 East 11th Avenue. Gallery hours are 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Friday.