Art therapy residents use art as an outlet to express struggles with homelessness

Posted at 10:37 AM, Oct 26, 2017

Pamela Johnson walks over to one of her paintings from earlier this year and is flooded with memories.

“This art has a lot of emotions," said Johnson, who is a member of the art therapy program at Front Steps Housing and Services.

That’s exactly what she’s been doing recently, painting her emotions.

“It helps. I feel a lot of energy,” Johnson said.

She explained the pains and struggles she faced being homeless for years. Now she’s trying to get herself back on track, but the road isn’t easy.  

“That’s just not a good place to be, it’s horrible, it’s a nightmare,” Johnson said.

A nightmare that is being remedied in a unique way, through art therapy.

“It’s a place where they can express themselves and they can be safe, and they can be comfortable, and it’s a non-judgemental atmosphere, for them, it’s a healing process,” said Sherri Brandon, Executive Director of Frontsteps Housing and services.

Front Steps Housing and Services is hoping to tackle homelessness in Cleveland through art therapy.

“Oh we see tremendous changes,” Brandon said.

The non-profit has housed thousands of homeless men and women since 2010 and Johnson said the recent art course, designed to combat the many issues, is paying dividends.

“I’m so grateful that I’m here, that I’m able to live again,” Johnson said.

Artwork from residents participating in the art therapy program at will be on view at the "All About the Arts" invitation-only celebration dinner on Friday, October 27 at Massimo Da Milano restaurant from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.