Presentation Minutes

Artist in Residence

  • Roni Chelben, City of Tacoma artist in residence.  Lives in Austin Texas – but is here for the summer.
  • Working on a community engagement art project with people experiencing homelessness
  • Project name is “In our backyard’. 
    • Trying to look at backyards in a different way.  Some folks have physical backyards, some are more figurative.
    • Goal is to educate the community about homelessness through events and art elements
  • 5 public events – each event has a performance of “Room for Rent” – performed by Nativity House and Tacoma Rescue Mission residents (and others).  The story is about stereotyping and about rejections.  It contains the stories of the residents.  University of Washington Tacoma is involved in making some masks.  The performance Includes a participatory part for the audience, through facilitation, to share thoughts and questions and have a dialog. 
  • Also creating videos by filming people in their backyards, pairing folks who are homeless and who are not homeless in conversations.  Hoping the videos involve everyone in the conversation.  Videos are in editing right now and will be shown at the events and also will be available online. 
  • Event locations
    • Tacoma Rescue Mission - July 25th
    • Blueberry park – Saturday, August 4th, 3-5pm
    • Eastside Portland community centers
    • Downtown in a central location
    • TCC collaboration
  • (Roni sent out some additional information, including the following 3 event dates- August 7th, 12th and 16th.  I’m not sure locations and times.-ed)
  • In the events themselves there will be folks who have experienced homelessness watching and participating.  It is very hard to bring people experiencing homelessness to attend these types of events.  We are working to arrange a shuttle.  Do you have any general questions or thoughts on a good way to get folks to attend?  (everyone likes gift cards…-ed).
  • Brian – are the homeless performing?  Roni - The whole performance is made up of Tacoma Rescue Mission and Nativity House clients.  Some of the clients came from the stability site, as well.
  • Sherri – publicity? Roni - first event on July 25th – waiting on poster from the City (hoping to get them today).  Will visit some community gatherings to distribute flyers and posters. The outreach person just started to work on this.  Will distribute across many channels and social media platforms and such.  Hopefully, before every performance, prior to the event, they will go to each site with breakfast hoping to get folks to attend the event. 
  • Martha – you can use the shuttle the City of Tacoma pays for.  If you get flyers, you should take them to art on the Ave this Sunday – I’m sure some table will let you set them on there. 
  • Josh – I worked with one of the artist selected who is also a Spartan race participant.  He has reported that what he’s learned from this program has been valuable – really learned a lot about how art business works and how to  get the message out.  What happens once the program is done?  Any on-going mentoring after the program is done?  Roni – everyone was invited to participate.  It isn’t a mentorship program.  Josh – this isn’t the artist program?  Roni – different artist program.  I worked with a volunteer named Maureen (Coleen?) and a Nativity House employee Maggy – possibly the group could continue on with their work with those folks.  
  • Joseph – want to express appreciation – two formally homeless clients, working with Roni and Susah, clients really appreciated the opportunity to express themselves.  Thank you.
  • Sherri – want to add on – these clients have developed new confidence – it is great to see the clients come in and talk about their experience. 
  • Kenneth – can we refer folks to you?  Roni – the performance is the part I’m working on and it is in its last phases.  We can always have more folks join in and add more small parts.  Yes, engage more clients.  I’ll leave my number (I sort of lost her card so I can’t help much here – sorry –ed.) and e-mail ( ) and you can contact me so more folks can join in.
  • Patricia – are performances going to be at different times and different days?  Roni – yes.  The rescue mission is in the evening.  Two are during the day during the week.  TCC in the evening after school.  Some are weekends some are workdays. 
  • Send me ideas and mailing lists about how to distribute.  I’ll provide a flyer electronically that you can use to promote the event. 
  • Patricia – how about an event at People’s Park.  Roni – others said that the hilltop is addressed so much, and with only 5 events, thought we’d share the message around to other parts of the City. 
  • Please show up to some of the events so you can take part in the dialog.
  • James – originally there was some controversy around the artist in residency programs focused on homelessness – specifically if this is a good use of our funds.  I Have only heard good things about this their work so far. 
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