As part of a fundraising campaign to expand Wheeler Mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter, the nonprofit has placed more than 20 displays of sidewalk art that feature life-like images of homeless women and children.
Steve Nading noticed one sidewalk image of a woman and child huddled together while working the Farmers' Market at the Indianapolis City Market, near Delaware and Market streets.
“You don’t see art like that just laying on the sidewalk everyday,” Nading says, adding that he has no issue with the provocative display. “That’s what creates change.”
Wheeler Mission Chief Development Officer Steve Kerr says he hopes the guerrilla art campaign will raise awareness of homelessness and elicit emotion.
“There’s sort of a mental or emotional denial that we have moms and children with no place to sleep,” Kerr says. “This is a community problem that we need to come together and solve.”
Kerr says in the past couple of years, it’s become the new norm for women and children to sleep on the floor of Wheeler Mission’s gymnasium because of the lack of bedspace. That realization lead to this campaign.
Kerr says Wheeler Mission expects to raise the money in about 18 months and then begin construction. The addition will allow for 164 new beds for women and children in need of emergency shelter, as well as 30 private apartments for moms and kids. The facility, on Indianapolis' eastside, currently has 93 beds.