Frist exhibit gives face to homelessness

Photographs of Safe Haven,” opening Jan. 9.
High as You Can by Benjamin (age 14) and Allen Clark will be part of the Frist Center’s exhibition “Seeing Ourselves: Photographs of Safe Haven,” opening Jan. 9.


By Nancy DeVille • THE TENNESSEAN • January 7, 2009

An upcoming exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts will offer a look at the human side of homelessness.

“Seeing Ourselves: Photographs of Safe Haven” opens Friday, Jan. 9, and features 22 color and black-and-white photographs taken by members of homeless families while living at the Safe Haven Family Shelter. The photographs, organized by the Frist Center, are on view through May 3 in the Conte Community Arts Gallery, with no admission charge.


“The photographs selected for Seeing Ourselves represent life patterns and happenings that are experienced by people living in a variety of circumstances,” says Andee Rudloff, educator for outreach at the Frist and curator of the exhibition. “Instead of simply documenting the conditions of homelessness, the images remind us that we all share common hopes, dreams and goals.”

In April 2008, the Frist partnered with Safe Haven, which provides interim housing and job training to homeless families. Nashville-based photographer Allen Clark and the Frist’s outreach educators led a two-week photography workshop for participants, who ranged in age from 3 to 65, to learn about composition, visual storytelling and photographic technique. Writing exercises, including poems written to accompany their images, and preliminary drawings helped residents form ideas for pictures.

On the final day of the workshop, each resident was provided a Holga 120N camera, a toy-like camera that uses medium format film, and invited to create and capture the compositions they had planned.

The gallery guide features images and text, as well as a resource list that includes Web site addresses, for those in need of homeless services in the Nashville area.

“While the Frist Center brings art from all over the world to Nashville, the abiding commitment is to the community,” said Susan H. Edwards, the Frist’s executive director and chief executive officer.

“One of the founding tenets behind creating an art center was to serve the broadest possible constituency and to demonstrate through art the many ways we are connected.”

Contact Nancy DeVille at 615-259-8304 or

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