Homes painted by artists highlight homelessness

March 1, 2010 10:37:37 PM PST
New houses are being built in Marin County as part of a project to make the public aware of homelessness in the county. These are model houses decorated by local artists.

The rock and roll house is sitting in front of San Rafael City Hall. Jerry Garcia's image is on the outside and the interior is Grace Slick's take on "Alice In Wonderland." The artist is a corporate creative director.

"The challenge was there is a legion of fans out there who know their work, so I needed to make sure that I respected the art work and used it well," said artist Daniel DeMoulin.

Twenty-five houses have been unveiled on Monday all decorated by Marin artists. Nearby, another artist was finishing off her work in front of the Rafael Theatre. It's called "Revelation," revealing a unique landscape.

"I was very nervous about doing this project because it's a stretch for me because I'm a ceramic artist," said artist Barbara Andino-Stevenson.

She had no need to worry, passersbys approved. While each work is unique, there is a theme about being homeless. Art Houses of Marin is a benefit for the Ritter Center in San Rafael which offers services, such as food, medical care, and opportunities to the 1,700 homeless.

"The two goals of the project is to raise awareness around the 1,700 people. In a county like Marin that's very high, living homeless and then there's another 3,000 living precariously," said executive director Diane Linn.

"To really become involved back in the community and to end homelessness you really need to give people hopes, and that's what this is really about," said San Rafael Mayor Al Boro.

"And this project is really about sustainability or reducing and ending chronic homelessness," said Linn.

It's like the Hearts In San Francisco project, as public art becomes a message for change.

These houses will be on display for two months and then auctioned off on May 1. Ritter Center hope to raise $150,000 to $250,000 to expand its services.