Here’s a good magic trick: how do you turn a painting of a house into a real house? The answer: when local residents commission members of the Arcata House Artists Guild to paint portraits of their homes, half the money goes to the Arcata House Partnership, where it is used to help house homeless people. Over time those commissions add up and make a real difference.
Arcata House Partnership began in 1991. It was started by a group of local churches and concerned citizens who wanted to make a difference in the lives of the homeless in our community.
Today the Arcata House Partnership operates multiple facilities. They offer emergency night shelter (25 beds), transitional housing (four houses that can accommodate more than 20 people at a time, mostly families) and an “Apartments First” permanent supportive housing program. The Apartments First program not only helps chronically homeless people keep a roof over their heads, but includes many other support services including referrals to other agencies, help with drug and alcohol addiction, finding primary health care providers and landing jobs. AHP also operates street outreach programs and works with other organizations to make sure that a full range of services is available to help homeless people secure and keep housing.
The Arcata House Artists Guild began about five or six years ago as a way for artists to get involved and help support that work. It’s currently made up of ten of the area’s best artists. Commissioning one of them do a portrait of your own home is a great way to support not just the local homeless population, but the art community as well. The artwork itself is deeply meaningful to the recipient. These paintings are often given to family members or close friends, and make exceptional, heartfelt gifts. Anyone interested should contact one of the artists listed in the ad below. Sittings can usually be scheduled within two months, although one can be scheduled further out to capture a particular season, or a portrait can be made from a photograph. To get a clear idea of what their patrons want, the artists prefer to meet with them before beginning work. For more info, go to ArcataHouse.org/help/artists-guild or contact Jaffa Dugan at 707-822-3534.
– story by David Kaftal