Coffee and Conversation: Stories of homelessness

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BRATTLEBORO >> Energy in Brattleboro surrounding the issues of homelessness is at a high. This is a photo/video project and event that aims to end the stigma of homelessness in Brattleboro. To treat people as people, with respect and dignity. Instead of passing by a homeless person and ignoring them, to actually meet their eyes and ask how they are or even engage in conversation. Being homeless is a lonely, isolating place and sometimes even the smallest interaction can make all the difference.

Many people do not know how to approach someone who is homeless and the homeless have a difficult time approaching someone who is not homeless. Fear is on both sides of this situation. This project will take that fear away, create community connections and participation and acceptance.

Coffee and Conversation is a multimedia photography/video/audio exhibit with an art installation "Community Art Wall" is planned for the month of December at the River Garden. The exhibit will consist of 10 large format photographs capturing conversations between conversation partners (one homeless and one with stable housing). All have been photographed in public spaces in Brattleboro. Conversations were recorded and people have been interviewed for the video/audio portion of the exhibit so we can share people's stories of homelessness at the exhibit.

The "Community Art Wall" will consist of art by homeless artists as well as other community members. The River Garden is a perfect location to host a weekly 'Coffee Hour' during the month of December (five dates planned) as another way to connect the community and encourage conversation.

The first Coffee and Conversation hours will be held on Friday, Dec. 4, from 9 to 10 a.m. and again during Gallery Walk, 5:30-8 p.m.

The show's opening night event, an evening of art and stories, will take place Saturday, Dec. 5 from 7-10 p.m.

Additional Coffee and Conversation Hours will take place as part of the River Garden's Brown Bag Lunch series, from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, Friday, Dec. 18, Tuesday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 29.

The exhibit/event will be publicized on radio, TV, newspapers and online and is the face/foundation for change in the homeless community and the springboard for future projects to end homelessness in Brattleboro

The results will show in the community. How people interact with each other. New connections/networking can lead to so many things, even jobs or help for people who are struggling.


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