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Mother's Apprentice Program

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#12 - Serviam Seniors with Concourse House mothers and Naomi Lawrence, Flores de Otono (Au
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Get to Know Us

Arts programming is rare in homeless shelters. Rarer still is the opportunity of a paid arts apprenticeship for women transitioning out of homelessness. Through their collaborative arts apprenticeship program, apprentices start by participating in art workshops and then advance to supporting the running of workshops and leading in the research and creation of their own art works.


CH hopes to instill the tools needed towards independent living. Our mother-artist apprentices learn life skills such as creating agendas, organizing a budget and learning how to work in a team environment while taking charge of their workshop. The mother-apprentice program aims to build confidence and resilience in their teaching, curating, and leadership skills. Mothers enter this program to become artists, but graduate as problem-solvers, creative thinkers, multitaskers, leaders and advocates for themselves.

Since initiating the mother-artist apprenticeship program in 2020, Concourse House has supported 6 mothers with paid opportunities. These mothers have co-curated public art (with Art on the Concourse); guest lectured (with Design Advocates & CUNY's Architecture and Urban Design Immersion Program; and Fordham University Department of Sociology and Anthropology); participated in NYC and national cultural affairs panels (with Brooklyn Public Library Art & Society Census and the UnCommission); won Su-Casa teaching-artists grants (with Bronx Council for the Arts); and been hired as teaching professionals. This program set out to reach homeless mothers in the shelter, but now amplifies their voices in the Bronx neighborhood and wider NYC creative community.

In our own words: "Our art celebrates our neighborhood's team spirit. Our culture pulls up for each other. Our art displays the many stories there are among the members of our community. At Concourse House, our mothers face stigmas surrounding homelessness; our population often feels unheard; isolated and ignored. Building community connections and creative partnerships outside of the shelter with a public arts program pilot has been transformative in fostering a sense of belonging and self-expression for our mothers. An example is the multigenerational connections between neighbors like our crochet mural collaboration with the seniors who live on the Serviam campus. Our art follows the journey of our mothers' transition from Concourse House shelter and shifts the narrative from individuals trying to get out to making a life of their own, artists-apprentices, teachers, mentors and leaders in the process of building-up a neighborhood public art program." (2023)

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