Seattle, WA – When Louie Gong, a Nooksack tribal member and owner of Eighth Generation, recently visited the new 75 bed homeless shelter on the boarder of Beacon Hill and the International District, he was deeply impacted by the 20,000 square feet of blank white walls. Specifically, he saw them as a problem for the individuals coming there to start a new phase of life – one that his small, arts-based business could help solve.
“I knew Eighth Generation could call on its resources to help create a living space that was more conducive to a feeling of renewal and hopefulness,” Gong said.
Over the course of several months, Eighth Generation set out to recruit local organizations, small businesses and local artists who were willing to pitch-in on the project. The result was dozens of beautiful, professionally framed giclee prints, as well as a fully-designed 25′ x 15′ wall covering that was installed immediately across from the entrance to the building. It says, “The Journey Begins Here.”
The art was hung throughout the shelter, transforming the depressing 20k square foot institutional building into a place more conducive to physical and spiritual renewal.
One Navigation Center resident commented “To have this shelter bring in artwork makes me feel like a real human being. I literally want to cry.”
The total project cost exceeded $8,000. However, The Color Group donated $2,000 in printing and Pro Art Framing donated museum quality custom frames. Local nonprofits Chief Seattle Club and the Wing Luke Museum made monetary contributions. And, of course, local artists from a broad range of communities donated use of their work. Eighth Generation coordinated the project and covered the rest.
“We know we aren’t solving homelessness through projects like this,” Gong said. “But it’s a good example of how normal people can come together anytime they want and make a positive difference in their community.”
About Eighth Generation
Eighth Generation is a local arts-based business with a flagship store at Pike Place Market. In 2015, Eighth Generation became the first Native-owned company to produce wool blankets. In 2016, Eighth Generation community give back has exceeded $70,000.00. http://www.eighthgeneration.com
About the Navigation Center
The Navigation Center, operated by DESC (www.desc.org) and modeled on the San Francisco Navigation Center is a safe, welcoming environment for 75 single women, men, and couples formerly living in tent encampments and on the street. It provides round-the-clock case management, mental and behavioral health services, and connections to benefit programs and housing navigation all in one location. The dormitory style living facility provides a shower, bathroom, laundry and dining facilities, and a place to store personal belongings so guests can focus on healing and finding permanent housing.
Louie Gong, Founder of Eighth Generation
Link to Video
Link to Blog Post with Artist Information