Art gallery helps connect homeless with healthcare, nonprofit with funds and platform

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As Eden Village continues construction on tiny houses and a community center for the chronically homeless, community organizations are banding together to help fund the project.

Friday, the Wilma Daniels Gallery and the Wilson Center hosted a gallery featuring Cape Fear Community College professors and local artists. According to Professor Sharon Wozniak Spencer, 100 percent of commission from the silent auction on the CFCC pieces will go to Eden Village.

“I’m very glad that the Wilson Center and Wilma Daniels Gallery actually did because they’re actually giving their commission as well to Eden Village,” she continued.

Spencer has worked within the homeless community for years, even featuring many who have since found housing in her portraits. Her goal: to humanize men and women living on the streets and share their story.

“And the one thing that I always wanted to get out of all the paintings was to show the beauty and dignity in everyone,” she said.

Eden Village’s Shawn Hayes says the money is helping to fund construction while bringing out about awareness of their mission: building a city where no one sleeps outside.

“The biggest thing it is going to provide is an opportunity for us to tell the story of Eden Village to someone who hasn’t heard it yet,” Hayes explained.

While the gallery will end in September, it’s forging lasting partnerships with the nonprofit. CFCC’s dental, nursing, occupational therapy, and honors students will visit the tiny homes as a part of their curriculum, offering their services to those in need.

According to Hayes, “Those living on the streets now will not only come into a home that they can live in, but they’ll have the support services that they need to be able to thrive.”

“It’s a way that it lives beyond the show,” Spencer said.

According to Hayes, these aren’t the only funds Eden Village is receiving. Legislators just approved a $500,000 grant for the nonprofit, helping them build their community center debt free. Construction on that should begin in the coming weeks.

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