Creating Community Through Art

Project HOME resident Julia reviewing a collection of her paintings

From a young age, Project HOME resident Julia has been creating art. It wasn’t unusual for her to win ribbons for painting in elementary school. From her brother Eugene to her Great Aunt Jean, who was a watercolor artist, art flows in their veins.  

Project HOME has a robust art program, and Julia became a part of it when she moved into the 1515 Fairmount Avenue residence in 2004. But Julia didn’t just join the art program, she won several grants to fund her art projects and in turn gave that money to the community to empower others.  

When she received her first grant from the Leeway Foundation (a foundation that supports women, trans artists, and cultural producers working in communities at the intersection of art, culture, and social change), she used it to buy textiles for herself and residents. They held a show and sold every item. Then in 2007, she received a literary grant to put a book of resident poems together. She even got copies printed for each resident.  

After winning the Leeway Foundation grant three times, she was recently invited to apply a fourth time. “I didn’t think I was going to win it,” said Julia. But she did. This grant is extra special. Since the pandemic hit, Julia hasn’t been able to sell her art, which means she hasn’t been able to buy art supplies. So, this grant will allow Julia to get whatever she needs to create. Her first thought? “I’m crocheting a baby blanket for my great niece,” said Julia. “I hope she’s having twins because in 150 years, there’s never been twins in our family.” 

It would take more than a pandemic to keep Julia’s spirits down. “It makes me feel good when I make art,” said Julia. “My walking is not so good anymore, but I get around and there’s plenty of people worse off than me, so I’m pretty grateful.” 


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