Not having a safe place to live is something that some Nashvillians face every day. It’s a reality that we are all aware of and most of us do what we can to help. We buy the Contributor, give to food banks and hand out water to our friends on the street corner… Still, we wish we could do something that had a greater positive impact, something to throw the doors of opportunity wide open.

Let me introduce you to the Artist Collective.

Many people who find themselves without a home have backgrounds that include criminal behavior, physical disabilities, and/or mental illnesses. These make it difficult and even impossible to maintain what most consider a normal life. For these individuals, holding down a traditional 40-hour-a-week job is not possible. They also often lack the emotional stability and skills needed for even the most basic employment. Many times these individuals do not have a consistent support system to help them overcome these challenges.

That’s where the Artist Collective steps in.

The Artist Collective here in Nashville serves people who struggle with homelessness and all the challenges that have caused this reality in their life. Many individuals impacted by homelessness have either an artistic background or a desire to explore creative outlets. The Collective has been able to work with more than 25 artists in the last three years; currently, there are 12 active artists, ages 26 to 66, involved with the Artist Collective. Art materials and studio space are offered for those in the program. Individuals are given plenty of opportunities to exhibit what they create. The members of the Collective show their work during the Second Saturday Art Crawl in the Houston-Wedgewood Area.

Through this program, artists have an opportunity to earn supplemental income through the sale of the art pieces they create. Each artist receives 60% of a sale, with the remaining 40% being returned to the Collective to support the development of artists in the program. While working within the program artists gain marketable skills and build relationships throughout the community. This assists them to regain control over their lives. They will also receive professional and entrepreneurial training. This helps to increase the sales of their artwork and open doors to higher paying employment outside of the organization in the future.

There is a way for you to be a part of something that makes a real difference in the lives of those who have no home. You can do your holiday shopping at PoveryandtheArts.org. On their website, you will find jewelry, fiber arts, fine art pieces, coasters, and more, all created by the Artist Collective members.

Nashville is a city of creative people. Some of us paint or play the guitar. Some of us plan new structures, some of us write and some of us make meals that look like pieces of art. Some of us have a safe place to go at the end of the day, and some of us don’t. Let’s change that.


On February 24, 2018, the Collective will be holding their annual fundraising event to benefit their artists, The Gold Key Gala. It will be held from 6 – 9 pm at the River Center, with wine, beer, and complimentary hors d’oeuvres available. The artists will be exhibiting their work. You’ll have the opportunity to mingle with the artists, volunteers, board members, community advocates, Artist Collective staff and many other fellow art lovers from around town, all to the music of a local jazz band. All proceeds from the gala will support the artists through program expansion, operational funding and studio maintenance. Tickets on sale now!


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