People’s Homes: Emily Fitzgerald and Molly Sherman
Mar 3–Jun 4, 2023
March 3, 2023 – June 4, 2023
People’s Homes is a collaborative project that honors longtime residents and investigates expanded notions of home. We began the first People’s Homes project in 2015 by pairing five Portland-based artists with five senior citizens. Each artist made a small-scale billboard to honor the seniors’ life experiences, which were installed in the residents’ front yards. Our continued work on this project is propelled by the people we have met, the resilience we have witnessed, and the stories that move us.
Each iteration of the People’s Homes series draws upon the vernacular of symbols and objects found in front yards, on porches, and in neighborhoods to make powerful statements about home, family, and gentrification. The first iteration repurposed the form of front yard billboards that are often used as real estate signage. Instead of seeing the expected ‘for sale’ sign, passersby are met with artworks about longevity, place, home, and aging. In the second iteration, newspapers are distributed in custom newspaper boxes, which often hold commercial publications and advertisements. In their place, passersby are invited to take a free newspaper and learn about elders in their community.
The third iteration in the series is focused on intergenerational belonging, caregiving, and caretaking in San Antonio, Texas. It draws upon the history of flags and banners as they are attached to the front of people’s homes, sometimes patriotically, but other times to mark the passing of seasons, stand in solidarity with social movements, or share family crests. In this project the traditional use of a flag is reframed to represent an intergenerational relationship and demonstrate something personally meaningful in these connections. We invited representatives from six local cultural organizations to select and interview an intergenerational pair of community members. The stories about these individuals and their shared lives are brought together through a publication and an exhibition at the Contemporary at Blue Star. This investigation bridges the indistinguishable line between the personal and political. As artists, we are interested in using creative practices and storytelling to humanize, visualize, and reflect on the complex issues of gentrification, aging, and isolation.
In collaboration with:
Anna Maria DeLaRosa
Erica Raquél DeLaRosa
Armenia “Mimi” Hudspeth
Rosa Sánchez Ybarra
Jacqueline Saragoza McGilvray
Molly Sherman is a designer, artist, and educator. Her practice spans client-based work and collaborative creative projects, while operating within the overlapping fields of graphic design and socially-engaged art.
She is an Assistant Professor in Communication Design at Texas State University. Previously, Molly worked with Project Projects and the Center for Urban Pedagogy in New York. Her work has been shown at Artpace, Centre Pompidou, the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz, the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambresis, the Portland Art Museum, and the San Fransisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art.
She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University.
Emily Fitzgerald is a socially-engaged artist, photographer, storyteller, and educator. Through her work, she investigates what it means to collectively tell a story, equally prioritize the relational and the aesthetic, collaboratively make conceptual and visual decisions, and co-author a body of work with the ‘subject.’ Her work is responsive, participatory, and site-specific. Emily brings large-scale art installations into non-traditional, public, and unexpected places in order to deepen our understanding and reframe our ways of relating to one another. She is the co-founder of MATTER gallery and Works Progress Agency. Emily teaches photography, art, and design thinking courses at Portland State University.
The project is funded in part by a Texas State University Research Enhancement Grant.