WE ARE ALL HOMELESS - COAST TO COAST
My name is Willie Baronet. I'm an artist and professor living in Dallas, TX. Since 1993 I've been buying and collecting homeless signs for the purpose of using them in art projects. This all began as a way for me to deal with my discomfort when I was confronted by a homeless person at an intersection, and it has evolved into much, much more. These signs - and this practice - have become a catalyst for conversations about the nature of home, homelessness, compassion, and how we see and treat each other as humans. It has also heightened my awareness about my own upbringing and home life.
In 2008 I began pursuing an MFA in Arts & Technology, which is where my art projects began to mature and take shape. I've produced digital compilations, installations of various types, performances involving the community, videos, photography series, quilts (in collaboration with my sister), and more.
In 2012 I gave a TEDx talk about this project, where I mentioned for the first time a coast-to-coast sign buying trip.
Now that time has come. This Indiegogo project will fund a 31-day, 24-city journey, beginning in Seattle on July 1, 2014, and ending in New York on July 31. My goal is to buy as many signs and connect with as many homeless people as I can. In addition to the art installations/projects that will result from these new signs, there will be a book and a documentary film of the entire experience. Plus, I'm partnering with the Housing Crisis Center in Dallas to raise money and awareness for their program to help homeless veterans.
Your help is critical. The more people who get involved, the more meaningful the project (and the conversation about homelessness) becomes.
What you get for helping
There are some great incentives for contributing: buttons, postcards, t-shirts, signed posters, DVDs of the documentary, books, producer credits, mentions on all our social media. For larger donations you can sponsor one day of travel, or get an original limited edition artwork. You can fly out and travel with us for a day and be in the documentary. For Patrons, I will create an art exhibit in your (or your company/organization's) name. At ANY level I am very grateful for your participation!
Here are some examples of the Perks available if you contribute:
Funders who contribute at the Companion Level ($25) and above will receive a set of five Postcards (in addition to other Perks in their respective funding level).
Funders who donate at the Voyager level ($500) and above receive the book we are producing from our journey (as well as any other Perks associated with their level of participation).
At the Champion Level ($2500), Funders will receive their choice of one limited edition, large scale print (3 ft x 3 ft) from a series of five.
Our budget is $44,000, and includes:
- Airfare (Dallas to Seattle and returning from New York)
- Rental car and gas
- Food and lodging
- Sign purchases
- Incentive production and fulfillment
- Professional services (at very reduced rates) including: public relations, videography, photography, editing, layout, production (of the documentary and book), coordination, content creation for Social Media. (My good friend Tim Chumley, who is traveling with me, will shoot the documentary and handle some of the other tasks.)
We will donate 50% of all money above our budget to the programs at Housing Crisis Center for the purpose of providing housing for homeless veterans. The rest of the surplus will be used to fund art installations in as many cities and locations as possible. My dream would be to do one in EVERY city where we buy signs along the way. This can happen!
There is no way I can express how much my friends (and in some cases even strangers) have supported this project for many years. They have bought signs all over the world and shipped them to me, sent me supplies to hand out to the homeless, promoted my crazy ideas to their friends on social media, stood with me at busy intersections holding homeless signs and passing out information to cars passing by (thank you Tanya, Kellye, Ed, Hal, Robert, Rachael, Lisa, Cristella, Dean, John, David, Katrina, Nikki, Lacy, Gary, Don, Carl, Roby, Mona, Shellie, Sara, Shellie, Sandi, Brandy, Reagan, Greg, Laurie, Hillary, Tim, Danny, Laurie, Andy, Jeff, Kim, Amy, Hilly, Danielle, Robin, Emily, Mike, Buddy, Alisa, Dee, Reingold, Heyd, Joan, Leah, Rachel, King, Chelsea, Stayc, Mary, Sheila, Bruce, Leslie, Kate, Kyle, Natalie, Denise, Janice, Mitzi, Jimmy, Eduardo, Diana, Brad, Donny, Cassandra, Henry, Snow, Dean, Frank, Teri, Donna, Ben, Jenny, Jordi, Muscle Nation, MKP, SMU, UTD, TCU and all the others I'm forgetting). And they have told me THEIR stories of their own interactions with the homeless, proving to me how meaningful this project is.
Please get the word out!
Regardless of whether you contribute yourself, you can also help A LOT by sharing this project with YOUR friends. We never know who might be inspired to participate, so please share this on social media, old media, smoke signals, WHATEVER. Send an email to your friends, family, co-workers. Indiegogo has some great sharing tools as well.
I'm grateful that you've taken the time to read about this project. It is a dream of mine and I hope you (and all your friends) will get involved. And I challenge you to engage in the conversation about homelessness, make connections with people you might not normally talk to, get out of your comfort zone and engage creatively. I believe whatever you do, you've already made the world a little richer and more vibrant, just by being here.
Thank you again, with love and blessings,