I'm looking for...



Happening:
Anytime
to
Near:
Anywhere
That is
Anything

Public art: “Windows to the Soul,” a new installation


by Gail Sachson 21 May 2008

Homeless poet Lowell Smith, whose work is part of Windows to the Soul, an installation at the Dallas Homeless Assistance Center. Guest blogger Gail Sachson is Vice-Chair of the Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission and a member of the Dallas Public Art Committee. There could not have been a better choice than glass artist GORDON HEUTHER to […]

CTA TBD

Homeless poet Lowell Smith, whose work is part of Windows to the Soul, an installation at the Dallas Homeless Assistance Center.

Guest blogger Gail Sachson is Vice-Chair of the Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission and a member of the Dallas Public Art Committee.

There could not have been a better choice than glass artist GORDON HEUTHER to create the artwork embellishing THE BRIDGE, Dallas’ Homeless Assistance Center, just opened yesterday. Easy-going, self-deprecating, but openly and charmingly self-promoting, California artist Gordon Heuther is a risk-taker and an optimist! He’s a can-do kind of guy who never finished high school and who spent several months in juvenile hall, in San Francisco around the time of his parents’ divorce.

He may never have been homeless, but he HAS struggled with being scared and being directionless. He understands the necessity of  a helping hand and even today calls his devoted and supportive patrons “sweet, sweet angels”.  In this case, Heuther is the “sweet, sweet angel”. In the art work he created, he was able to give the words of two homeless poets, LOWELL SMITH and BILLY BLAIR, a stage, an audience and life.

Chosen by the construction project’s design team from a Public Art Committee list of approved artists, Heuther designed and fabricated Windows to the Soul, 7 traffic-stopping art windows of etched and colorful fused glass for the shelter’s third-floor dormitory area. The soul-searching words of Smith and Blair, written during  creative writing workshops at The Stewpot, were sandblasted in Heuther’s own handwriting atop of  colorful rectanglular shapes.

At the opening ceremonies yesterday, I was fortunate to meet LOWELL SMITH, one of the poets. As he stood before one of his favorite windows, it dwarfed his human-size, but it swelled his spirit…and mine. Written as a response to Katrina, he asked, “Is this a day when God had enough? Is he fixin to teach us another lesson?” If he were, perhaps it was when Smith and Heuther met for the first time yesterday and hugged beside the window.

 The lesson might be love.

 By building THE BRIDGE, Dallas has hugged the homeless. But is a hug enough?

5/22

KERA Radio’s B.J. Austin just brought over some additional interviews she did for her story on the shelter opening.  Thought I’d add them here – Anne Bothwell

Poet Lowell Smith


Gordon Huether explains his work to Dallas City Council members and others on the tour.

 And Rick Archer, with Overland Partners Architects, talks about the public art aspect “Windows to the Soul.”

 

SHARE
  • Margaret Ann

    absolutely beautifully written!!!!!!!!!

  • mm

    Very inspirational; it makes me want to volunteer at THE BRIDGE; what a great day for Dallas

  • amy

    This truly an inspirational story!

    • nancy

      what a cogent observation on this artist. makes me want to learn more about him.

  • Carole & Tricia

    Sounds so inspiring – we can hardly wait to see the poets and artist’s endeavors at the new Bridge. We are very excited about volunteering there soon.

  • Phyllis & Frankie

    Love is not enough, but it is a great motivator!!
    The Bridge is a great way to get there.

  • shirley mcintyre

    The architects who disigned The Bridge was Overland Partners from San Antonio.
    They are great!

  • maw

    SWEET GAIL,

    YOUR SENSITIVITY TO THE PLIGHT OF THESE PEOPLE IS ENCOURAGING TO OTHERS,IN OUR COMMUNITY. ART IS A PART OF OUR SOULS, EVEN THROUGH WE ARE NOT AWARE OF THE INFLUENCE AT THE IMMEDIATE TIME. LET US ALL SHARE OUR LOVE WITH ALL HUMANITY IN MORE WAYS EACH DAY.

    • Alice Lin

      Actually – the “architect” is Dallas’ own CamargoCopeland Architects AND OP from San Antonio. The design was a collaborative effort.

  • anonymouss

    Beautifully written!! The Bridge appears to be a wonderful new facility for Dallas’ homeless. Hopefully creative soluions will be found for them for a longer period of time than what is available at The Bridge.