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(In)visible reveals homelessness

Posted on Apr 29, 2016, by

Walk into the new exhibit on homelessness at the History Museum at the Castle in downtown Appleton and the large photo you see is by a man named Del. Turn the corner, and Del stares back at you in a larger-than-life portrait, his face painted and topped by a fuzzy red and black hat that appears to be a pretty permanent fixture. The photo caption quotes him explaining the paint: “Pharaohs do it, women do it, Indians do it, why can’t I?”


Del with the photo he took of a friend.

Del is one of the faces of homelessness on display in “(In)visible: Homelessness in Appleton,” an exhibit that opened April 29. He lives in an Appleton-area motel — not physically homeless, but half a step away from it. Curator Nick Hoffman said the exhibit of photos taken by 15 homeless or near-homeless people adds the human side to the statistical picture painted by Project RUSH, a collaborative survey of homelessness conducted in April 2015 by 125 volunteers who interviewed 600 people.homeless-wall-WEB

For three months, Del shot photos of his daily life using a camera given to him as part of the museum’s project, done in collaboration with four area homeless advocacy nonprofits. Grants of $15,000 from the Arts and Culture Partnership grant program, $5,000 from the Robert Dohr and Lilas Dohr Current Community Needs Fund within the Community Foundation supported the exhibit. Grants of $30,000 from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership and $18,000 from Community Foundation discretionary grant money supported Project RUSH.

The exhibit features more than 150 photos. A traveling version of the exhibit, made possible by a $6,000 grant from the Mielke Family Foundation, is available free to display in schools, libraries and other public places for two to three weeks. Contact Hoffman at [email protected] or 920-735-9370 Ext. 112. Also involved in the project were Homeless Connections, COTS, Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities and the Fox Valley Warming Shelter.

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