1-artist Jessica Olah. Face New York. Bowery Rescue Mission Untapped Cities AFineLyneThe portrait of Ed is graphite and oil paint on Arches paper by artist Jessica Olah

Every day, as we move about our daily lives, we walk past homeless men, women and children who perhaps have made a temporary home on a park bench, in a doorway, or on the sidewalk throughout all five boroughs. They rely on our city’s shelters and the generosity of donations. This is a complex reality for more than 56,000 people dealing with homelessness in New York City. And while we may take a second to stop and share a coin or two, we don’t often take the time to connect with them in a personal way.

It was for this reason that Allie Wilkinson curated the current art installation Face New York, which brought together 17 artists and 18 members of The Bowery Mission community to bring about an artistic narrative. Each artist created a portrait based on not only what they saw, but also what they heard.

With the homeless men (some are refugees) sharing their stories, the artists were able to create the uniqueness in each of the men, sharing their portraits and their stories, as part of the annual Lower East Side Art Drive and fundraiser for the Mission.  The exhibit is located at The Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery, which is just steps away from 190 Bowery, in the news last year after being sold for $55 million. The Face New York  exhibit will be on display until November 1, open daily from 9:30 am to 1 pm and from 2:30 pm to 6 pm, free and open to the public. Below are a few of the portraits on display.

1-artist Eleanor Adam-Rex-Face New York Untapped Cities AFineLyneThe portrait Rex is graphite on paper by artist Eleanor Adam

When Winky Adam met Rex, he had only been in this country a month, having been forced to leave his home in Nigeria. He holds a masters in International Security, but as of yet, has no job and has found himself homeless – but yet he has hope.

The portrait of Ed greets you as you enter the room. In his own words, next to his portrait he will tell you of his faith in God and how that has seen him through.

1-artist Benat Iglesias. Face New York at Bowery Rescue Mission Untapped Cities AFineLyneThe portrait Jonesie is oil on wood panel by artist Benat Iglesias Lopez

1-Face New York at Bowery Rescue Mission Untapped Cities AFineLyneMr. Macklin was created with plaster by artist Michael Wilkinson

1-Ken Shih-Bowery Rescue Mission-Face New York Untapped Cities AFineLyneWilliam painted in ink on paper by artist Ken Shih

Chloe is William’s dog. She means all the world to him. When times were tough, he made sure that Chloe ate even if there wasn’t enough for both of them. Dogs aren’t allowed in the shelters, which was a huge motivator to have a place of his own. He talks about how much the Bowery Mission means to him. He says that the sermons keep him strong.

1-Satoshi Okada-Face New York-Bowery Rescue Mission Untapped Cities AFineLyneAbimael painted in oil on panel by artist Satoshi Okada

Abimael grew up in the Bronx. He talks of the high rents that are so far out of reach that he can only afford to rent a room from time to time. He’ll tell you he’s no bum and feels typecast by his current situation.

Abimael Face New York Untapped Cities AFineLyne

1-artist Pairoj Pichetmetakul. Face New York Bowery Rescue Mission Untapped Cities AFineLyneMilo painted in acrylic on canvas by artist Pairoj Pichetmetakul 

Milo talks about the dreams he had when he was a child – to grow up to be a fireman. He doesn’t talk about why he left home at the age of eleven, making the people in the streets his family. So far, he’s never had a birthday.

1-artist Richard Weinstein Bowery Rescue Mission Face New York Untapped Cities AFineLynePortraits of Yannick and Jeffrey painted in watercolor by artist Richard Weinstein

Last year, The Bowery Mission, a privately funded organization, gave nightly shelter to more than 98,000 men and women. They provided more than 390,000 meals, gave away bags of groceries, articles of clothing, haircuts, eye exams, and doctor’s appointments. They provided residential recovery programs for men and women, provided summer camp for over 1,000 at-risk kids, and assisted in helping many of them gain employment.

1-1-Bowery Rescue Mission. exhibit Face New York 10-15 Untapped Cities AFineLyneThe exhibit is on the walls of The Bowery Mission Dining Hall

Next, read about the The Many Lives of the Prince George Hotel, Now Affordable Housing for the HomelessFollow Face New York on Facebook. Get in touch with the author at AFineLyne.