Spartanburg art exhibit puts camera in hands of homeless - FOX Carolina 21

Spartanburg art exhibit puts camera in hands of homeless

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"Through Our Eyes" exhibit open through end of July (FOX Carolina) "Through Our Eyes" exhibit open through end of July (FOX Carolina)
Exhibit features photos, like this one, taken by Spartanburg homeless *(FOX Carolina) Exhibit features photos, like this one, taken by Spartanburg homeless *(FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

They want you to see the world "through their eyes."

The "Through Our Eyes" art exhibit at Artist Guild of Spartanburg puts the camera in the hands of the homeless, who for a week documented their wanderings through the Hub City. 

"It makes me realize that these are real people, real situations," said exhibit visitor Doris Sinclair. 

Jason Williamson, pastor at Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church in Spartanburg's west side, came up with the idea. He handed out 100 disposable cameras to anyone he saw that was displaced and asked them to document their lives. 

"Some of them I met at the homeless shelter, some of them I met at the soup kitchen," said Williamson. "One guy said it made him feel important, even if it was just for a moment in time."

Some of the photographs feature living spaces, including one of a man sleeping under a cardboard box. Others feature careworn faces, evoking the feelings of uncertainty experienced by these transient citizens. 

The art exhibit, open until July 29, features "spare change" boxes under each of the top 20 photos chosen for the exhibit, where people can donate money to the picture they like the best. Proceeds will benefit Spartanburg's homeless shelters. 

Statistics from the Spartanburg Interfaith Hospitality Network show one-third of the Upstate's homeless reside in Spartanburg County. In all, surveyors have counted 1,829 homeless people living in the Upstate. 

"A lot of people don't realize what the number is here in Spartanburg for the homeless, much less what their daily lives are like," said Artist Guild executive director Nikki Hicks. One woman, who took some of the photos while she was homeless for three months, said the experience helped her find hope in her situation. 

She pleads with the community to reach out to those less fortunate. 

"Just give them a 'hello,' said Brandi Burnett, who now has her own home in Landrum. "These people are just like me and you."

The exhibit is free and open to the public. 

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