Community in Blue aims to shed light on the severity of our homeless issue and to support efforts to facilitate change.
On June 29th, 2016 a Homeless Count documented 689 homeless people living on the streets of Pomona, California. According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, one in three homeless people in LA County are women. From 2013-16, the county saw a 55% increase in homeless women, making them the fastest-growing group within the homeless population. These women are more vulnerable to traumatic violence including rape while sleeping on the streets and in mixed gender shelters.
Community in Blue is a quantitative diagram illustrating Pomona’s homeless. Each of the 231 ceramic bottle forms symbolizes approximately three individuals. The blue vessels represent the men and the blue and white vessels represent the women. Together on a yellow field, these colors signify Pomona’s city flag.
While conducting research for this project, Erickson heard stories of women who kept themselves awake all night or dressing as men for the sole purpose of keeping themselves safe. Women stay in abusive relationships so that they at least have protection from other men. Homelessness is a multifaceted and complicated problem with no one solution. It is not just “their” problem, but the problem of our country, our state, our county, and our city. It is our problem and the more of us participating in this conversation – the more solutions we can generate.
Kristen Erickson is a ceramic artist and educator who was born in Connecticut and raised in Chicago. She holds a BFA in Environmental Art from Otis College of Art + Design and is now a resident artist at the American Museum of Ceramic Art Studio in Pomona, CA, where she also teaches. With an extensive background in architecture and over 15 years of experience in clay, Erickson’s diverse skill set pushes her work beyond the typical pottery realm.
Proceeds from the sale of every bottle will be donated to the Emergency Fund at Our House Shelter, which is a shelter in Pomona specifically for women and their families that is run by Inland Valley Hope Partners. Inland Valley Hope Partners, a nonprofit organization who provides food, shelter and supportive services to heal homelessness in communities. If you would like to volunteer or donate directly to Inland Valley Hope Partners, please contact them at (909)622-3806 or www.InlandValleyHopePartners.org.
Image: Detail, Community in Blue, 2017