“Shelter Me,” a collection of expressively painted umbrellas and writings about shelter and homelessness, shows in the Upstairs Gallery in May.
The students in the After School Achievement Club at the Seashore Literacy Center in Waldport sit in a reading circle and share a little about their day. Early this year, Kaylee asked Senitila McKinley, an artist and director of the center, why she painted umbrellas.
To Senitila, the umbrella is a symbol of shelter that she paints as a meditation to seek answers and clarity to problems like homelessness.
Kaylee said she wanted to paint umbrellas, real umbrellas. Senitila brought in paints and showed the children some techniques for painting on fabric. That was the beginning of the Shelter Me Project.
A lot of children in the group have experienced homelessness; not living with a mother and father in a home, living with grandparents or other relatives, living in cars, camping in other peoples back yards, kids who don’t have a family.
Since January, the children have painted over sixty umbrellas and their goal is to paint 500 or more. The kids have a wide range of imagination and they paint whatever they want. Handprints and flowers are favorite subjects. Some students work out a design before they start painting.
Sales from the umbrellas could purchase new t-shirts for the kids or pay a family’s electric bill or help a homeless person or family in some way.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 12:00pm to 4:00pm