Nashville Design Week includes panel of people who experienced homelessness in city

Posted at 9:20 AM, Nov 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-14 10:20:58-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — During Nashville Design Week, people who experienced homelessness spoke about what made it hard to get back on their feet.

"You're usually limited to just doing without or just being limited to where you can go and what you can wear," Nicole Minyard said. Minyard is the founder of Poverty & The Arts. At the non-profit, people who are homeless learn to create and market artwork.

In five years, POVA has helped about sixty people who are homeless make art and sell it.

"To be able to take what's in your mind and put it on paper is really transformative," she said.

Last week during Nashville Design Week, POVA empowered a handful of artists to do even more.

"To hear how design has impacted our artists who have all been homeless or formerly homeless was really really important to us and to them," Minyard said.

They were given the chance to recommend to Nashville architects, fashion and graphic designers how to help the entire population feel like they fit in.

Minyard admitted she is still learning how to make anyone who walks into the POVA gallery feel welcome.

"For example...I ordered chairs for this place not really thinking about that there would be a lot of different body sizes who would come through this space," she said.

Next, Minyard wants to a have two-way conversation so her artists can hear from designers about the barriers they face with zoning, budgeting and supplying projects.

"Through that opportunity, we would hope different solutions that we may not have thought about before would be created as we listen to barriers both experience," she said.

Click here for more information on POVA.