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Local homeless artists document their life

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Posted at 6:57 AM, Jan 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-09 09:21:53-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs continues to see a rise in the number of homeless people. According to the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care Point in Time Count, there were 1,156 people experiencing homelessness in 2020-2021. The most recent 2021-2022 report shows over 1,400 people experiencing homelessness.

But what does it mean to be homeless? The Pikes Peak Library District asked four local homeless people to document their life last year, and now they’re showcasing the stories of these four artists through an exhibit called “We Have a Story: Homeless in Colorado Springs.”

When you think homeless, you might often picture chronically homeless. But there are different levels of homeless. There are those living out of their car, those who have day jobs and those who do not want to conform to society.

Regardless, homeless people are part of our community. That is why the Pikes Peak Library District wanted to document these members of our community.

Four homeless people were given a camera and a quick camera lesson in 2022. They were asked to go out and document what it means to be homeless. You can see some of these images are art and abstract. Others show what you might vision a homeless person’s life to be, with images of those sleeping on the streets. While other artists added quotes, telling stories, and adding depth to what they believe is the true beauty of being homeless.

“You see the people that are documenting their life, but you also see the people that are playing around with the cameras and playing around with the mirror images, and the different filters, all those different things. You do see that artistic side of people that is coming out,” said Brett Lobello, the director of Regional History and Genealogy at the Pikes Peak Library District.

“There’s a blanket idea of what it is to be a person that is experiencing homeless and this sort of throws it in its face. You see the creativity; you see that they have some of these labels in German for goodness’ sake. They’ve got this creativeness that really pops.”

If you want to check out the exhibit yourself, it is free to visit.

The traveling exhibit will continue to move this spring to different local libraries for you to see.

Here’s where the exhibit will be.

  • Cheyenne Library, until mid Jan.
  • Rockrimmon Library, the second half of Jan.
  • East Library, in Feb.
  • Library 21c, in March

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