The Have a Heart Project at Workhouse Arts Center

Trying to make it as a professional artist in an unstable economy is no easy task. Understandably, in many struggling households owning original art, however affordable, is not considered a priority. Luckily, while some may find themselves forced to put their art careers on hold to earn an extra buck wherever possible, others (at least myself and those in my immediate circle) have been afforded, in some way, the opportunity to pursue our artistic dreams even in these harsh economic times. It is important that we remind ourselves of this and turn frustration into empowerment.

Workhouse Studio 4 is doing just that. We believe that art is a strong vehicle for social change. In our front gallery stands an "Empty Kitchen" installation and we challenge the community to help us fill it. Our efforts will benefit Food for Others, the largest distributor of free food directly to people in need in Northern Virginia. They offer assistance to our unemployed and low-income neighbors by providing a safety net for those who suddenly face unforeseen emergencies such as a family illness or the loss of a job or spouse.

Left to Right: Joan Yi, Mary Gallagher Stout, Lynn Goldstein, me and Annie Gedicks collaborate on the exhibit's "Empty Plate" installations.

The Have a Heart exhibit will open to the public on February 11, 2012. Studio 4 artists will create a variety of food-centric works in an array of mediums and styles. The exhibit aims to not only speak on topics of health, hunger and consumption, but explore the relationship between artist and community.

My (Mostly) Junk Food Journal in progress.

Studio 4 visitors can donate canned or non-perishable food items during normal business hours; Wednesday through Saturday from 11 AM - 7PM and Sunday from noon - 5PM. Donations will be welcome through the exhibit's run. The Have a Heart project will be the subject of a documentary by young filmmaker Makeda Thomas.