Simpson Housing Collaborative Arts Project

Located just a few blocks from the MCAD campus, Simpson Housing Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to housing, supporting, and advocating for people experiencing homelessness. In 2015, MCAD and Simpson began exploring the possibility of creating a collaborative project that would provide free arts programming to children transitioning out of homelessness.

The resulting pilot project ran through spring semester of 2016 and was funded by RBC Foundation – USA. An MCAD teaching artist and student intern worked with fifteen students enrolled in Simpson’s tutoring program to create original pieces of art using a variety of approaches and materials. The children, aged 5 to 12, learned drawing and texture rubbing techniques, created landscape collages, experimented with watercolors to express their emotional reactions to various genres of music, and painted acrylic still lifes. For their final arts project, the children worked in teams to create large canvas paintings of what the idea of home means to them. Works created by the children were displayed in a mini-exhibition at MCAD in late May. The children also took a field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Simpson staff was provided with enough art supplies to support forty children in future creative activities. MCAD also created detailed lesson plans so that Simpson staff can expand their tutoring program to include creative activities for enrolled children.

Teaching Artist: Melodee Strong ’06
Student intern: Chelsea Novotny ’16
Grant administrator and project manager: Kate Mohn ’14 MA