Friday, October 17, 2008

Roomies 08 Exhibition Article from the Glebe

the article "Creativity from the Margins" by Lana Lam, featured in this week's Glebe and is reproduced in full below.

Natalie McCarthy from Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, artist Janet Barker and Codfather owner Ross Godfrey are proud of the Roomies art exhibition. Picture: DANNY AARONS PP202869

FINE food, goodwill and art come together this week at a unique exhibition of creative works from people who are either homeless or living in boarding houses.
The show, which features works from residents living in boarding houses in Marrickville, opens Thursday (Oct 16) and will run until this Sunday (Oct 19).
The artists have created their works at the Roomies art space at the Addison Rd Centre.
The community art space, funded by StreetSmart and managed by the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, is for boarding house residents and artists with mental illnesses or disabilities, allowing them to develop their art in a safe and supported environment.
For the past few years, StreetSmart, an organisation which supports grassroots community organisations helping the homeless, has worked with inner-west restaurants to raise money for local projects such as Roomies.
In the lead-up to Christmas, diners at restaurants such as The Codfather, Oscillate Wildly and Perama, are asked to donate a few dollars to StreetSmart projects.
Ross Godfrey, who co-owns The Codfather in Stanmore, said the innovative collaboration filled a void. “We see enough need in the Newtown area,” he said.
“There’s only been one table in two years that’s said no. Coming up to Christmas, some people put in an extra $20.”
Artist Janet Barker has lived in a Marrickville boarding house for about three years.
Her work, titled Solar, features on the marketing material for the show. “It’s a house I dreamt I was in,” she told The Glebe.
Every fortnight, she spends time at Roomies, creating art and learning about new mediums such as print-making.
“I like to draw. It allows me to be creative and it calms me,” she said.
The Sydney Street Choir, another StreetSmart-funded project, will perform at the opening tonight.
Roomies will also run a special workshop on Friday, October 17, from 11am to 2pm.

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