What Home Means to Me
I have worked on several Artist-in-Residence projects in Pinellas County, Florida, with at-risk teens through Youth Arts Corps. One of the projects was What Home Means to Me. For this mixed media installation I worked with youth at both Wildwood Recreation Center in South St. Petersburg and at the Gulf Coast Museum in Largo.
Each youth was given a shoe box and told to create his or her ideal room in an ideal home using a variety of mostly found and recycled materials incorporating painting, collage, montage and sculpture. When complete, the rooms were combined to make houses and apartment buildings which were painted and decorated. Next the youth were given used 35 mm slides to perforate and scratch, then adorn by attaching tiny cellophane paper shapes with rubber cement to the film. Finally each youth was recorded speaking about what home meant to him or her.
At the event, at St. Petersburg’s Coliseum, for which the installation was created, the youths’ “houses and apartment buildings” were arranged on tables to form a village. The lights were dimmed and the altered slides, emulating the ambiance created by the lights of a busy city, were projected onto the “buildings” while the audience listened to the youths’ recorded voices speaking about their experiences of home. Several in the audience were moved to tears.