Meadows Advertising Professor Willie Baronet to Exhibit "We Are All Homeless" Installation at Cleveland Public Library During Republican National Convention
Exhibition presented by HELP USA to feature homeless signs Baronet purchased from across the country over the past 23 years
Willie Baronet, Dallas artist and Stan Richards Professor of Creative Advertising at SMU Meadows, is exhibiting his We Are All Homeless installation at Cleveland Public Library during the Republican National Convention. The exhibit – presented by HELP USA – opened on July 18 at the Cleveland Public Library and will be on display until August 20. Baronet believes that homelessness is a bi-partisan issue that merits the attention of both parties. He is also exhibiting his We Are All Homeless installation at the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia.
The exhibit will feature homeless signs Baronet bought from the homeless over the past 23 years including signs he purchased on a cross country trip in 2014 to 24 U.S. cities, including both Cleveland and Philadelphia. Baronet funded his project through an Indiegogo campaign, which garnered attention from various media outlets across the country such as NPR, Yahoo! News, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Buzz Feed, and many others. To date, Baronet has spent more than $13,000 on homeless signs. The purpose of the project is to raise awareness and compassion about homelessness.
“I’m honored to have these installations at both conventions. I’ve been buying homeless signs for 23 years now, and one thing continues to amaze me: regardless of my friends’ political leanings, they all connect to this project. Everyone wrestles with what to do about this issue, and my hope is that we will all take a moment and realize there is no us and them – it’s just us,” said Baronet.
Maria Cuomo Cole, chairman of HELP USA, the national nonprofit provider of housing and services for families and veterans in need, is helping to exhibit Baronet’s We Are All Homeless project in an effort to create awareness about the alarming rise of homelessness. “HELP USA is excited about sponsoring the We Are All Homeless exhibit at both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Like Willie, we believe that homelessness is not a partisan issue, it’s a human issue. With all the services we provide at HELP USA, and through art exhibits like this one, our goal is to find solutions to this critical problem. And reminding people to see the humanity in those on the streets is a powerful way to raise awareness and compassion,” said Cole.
After the Cleveland exhibition, Baronet will exhibit his We Are All Homeless project at the Democratic National Convention. In addition to art installations, Baronet and a film crew that traveled with him during his 24-city tour produced a documentary titled Signs of Humanity that has already been accepted to three film festivals – the most recent being the 2016 United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF). For more information about the We Are All Homeless project, visit weareallhomeless.org.
ABOUT THE WE ARE ALL HOMELESS PROJECT
For years, Willie Baronet was uncomfortable when he saw a homeless person on the street with a sign asking for money, so he often avoided looking at them. That all changed when he started buying their signs in 1993. Baronet, a Dallas artist and Stan Richards Professor of Creative Advertising at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has been buying and collecting signs made by homeless people for more than 20 years. He uses his purchases to create innovative art exhibits and performances highlighting the critical issue of homelessness and concept of home – the We Are All Homeless project. The project aims to raise awareness about the critical issue of homelessness and change preconceived ideas many of us have about the homeless and their situations.
ABOUT HELP USA
HELP USA is the leading national developer of housing and provider of jobs and services for homeless and at-risk populations in the country, including families, veterans and victims of domestic violence. HELP has served more than 300,000 people since it was founded in 1986 and today serves more than 12,000 each year at 41 residences and programs across the country. To date, HELP has developed more than 2,000 units of housing including transitional and permanent supportive service programs.