They are part of New York City’s invisible culture. They ride the trains to stay warm, set up camp in transportation hubs and plead for city dwellers to spare some cash or food. Yet, despite their massive presence, the homeless are widely ignored. Now a new initiative, the Starving Artists Project, is trying to change all of that by giving NYC’s homeless community a platform to showcase their cries for help. The program seeks to turn the cardboard signs we see being held up on street corners and in subway stations into art that funds social change.
The creators of the project, Nick Zafonte and Thompson Harrell, worked with world-renowned, award-winning photographer and film director Andrew Zuckerman to capture homeless men and women adjacent to their makeshift cardboard signs, and turn the images into a collection of art to inspire change.
The collection first debuted at the Dumbo Arts Center in January, 2012. A 4-ft-tall collection cup was constructed and placed in the center of the gallery and all donations from the exhibit were given to two community organizations – the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen,
Zafonte and Harrell explained to the Huffington Post: “Everyday the homeless reach out through the only means they have, scraps of cardboard and their own creativity. The problem is we don’t ever look, seeing their messages as an interruption to our day. Our mission and solution was to change the way society interprets their messages – by presenting their signs as art, allowing their own voices to inspire meaningful action.”
Via Huffington Post