2100 Men’s Shelter and Zygote Press Team Up to Make Prints
February 12th, 2016 was a steel grey morning – and cold. Eight poets from Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside Avenue walked into Zygote Press at 1410 E. 30.th Bright primary colors of prints and inks welcomed them, like stepping into a summer garden on a winter’s day. The workspace was filled with long tables, printing presses, sinks, aprons, stencils and textured papers – all supplied to make pictures that speak to the imagination. Demetrius, Tim, Charles, Ken and David, residents of the shelter, are part of the shelter’s volunteer-driven poetry workshop, Finding Voice Poetry. Annie, Julie and Flo, who’ve facilitated Finding Voice for six years, joined the men at Zygote to produce visual instead of written art that winter morning.
Doubts about “artistic skills” subsided after they observed Liz and Rebecca demonstrate the techniques of monoprint and proceeded to select art materials for themselves. Every step of the process was enthusiastically supported by the staff at Zygote. With music playing, there was a steady hum of activity, punctuated by shouts of surprise at the unexpected, eye-catching outcomes of the printing process and the pictures that emerged.
One shelter resident was making a gift for his granddaughter; another was making an exquisite valentine. Charles commented that he appreciated learning something new and being treated like a “regular” person. Ken would like to volunteer at Zygote.
The finished prints are on display in the shelter’s upstairs conference room – in the room where Finding Voice Poetry meets every Monday.
The shelter’s mission is “providing shelter, supportive services, and solutions to homelessness.” Employment and permanent housing are primary objectives at the shelter – while simultaneously strengthening the mind, heart and soul of individuals on this path to independence. Funding for this project is from the Ida B. Wells Foundation. Thanks to Annie Holden, Employment Specialist at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry; the guiding force of Finding Voice Poetry since its inception. Thanks also to poetry volunteers Julie Michelson, Flo McNichols, Renee Gerhart, Jeff Ford and Jack Schierloh – and to Liz Maugans, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Zygote Press.