'Common Art' Program Helps The Homeless Get Creative

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Back Bay church's art program is helping people experiencing homelessness to build a sense of community.

Allie Mattison is the artist-in-residence at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Newbury Street. On Wednesdays, she's helping the homeless get creative.

Artists participating in the church's Common Art program can even sell their artwork during monthly exhibitions, keeping 100 percent of the profit.

"It's primarily about being seen, and the dignity of being an artist," Mattison told WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas. "We have monthly art shows at different churches around the Boston area."

"Ten" used to be homeless, but now he's a volunteer chef at the church, and an artist, The Common Art program helped him.

"If I didn't go to shelter, I wouldn't have been introduced to this church or the program," he said. "I wouldn't have started painting. I wouldn't have known that I could become a good painter."

The program spans many kinds of art, from painting to creating jewelry.

"They gained self confidence, self esteem," Ten said. "I've seen many of them that, it definitely helps the substance abuse they have, and many of them, they left. It's such a good tool to recover."

Check out photos of some of the works created by those in the Common Art program here:

WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports

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