Artist Spotlight: OUI November 17, 2015 11:24
There are countless stories of hope and resilience at The Gathering Place, Denver’s only day-time drop-in shelter for women, children, and transgender individuals experiencing poverty and homelessness. For Caroline Pooler, artist and activist, her story is embodied in her unique works of art, her paintings gravitating towards her love of nostalgia and innocence, and more pointedly, her unconditional love of dogs. A long-time member of The Gathering Place, Caroline began contributing work to the new Art Restart program last year, seeing it as a way to both increase her visibility as an artist and give back to the organization.
Art Restart has its roots in The Card Project, an initiative started by The Gathering Place more than 25 years ago. The Card Project sells individual handmade cards and distributes the profits to the artists as each card is sold. While the Card Project program is great for purchasing single cards, Art Restart provides those same unique, handmade cards in large quantities, which is perfect for businesses, schools, organizations, or individuals looking to send out cards in bulk.
Caroline’s exposure to both The Card Project and Art restart led her to a scholarship for a Bachelors of Fine Arts at a local art college to expand her experience. Additionally, in Art Restart’s pilot year, one of her pieces was chosen for a large order purchased by State Representative Alec Garnett. The artist was delighted that her piece was purchased and with the royalties from the order, Caroline was able to give her son a Christmas.
Art Restart works to empower our artists, to expand their artistic experience, and show them that they can use their talents as some financial support. Caroline’s art sparks joy not only in the creator, but in everyone who receives one of her cards. Caroline has been an immense influence on the progress of Art Restart and has helped to develop it into a successful social enterprise through her support and continued production of incredible art pieces. In return, Art Restart has positively impacted Caroline’s life. In Caroline’s own words, “The art programs at The Gathering Place have given me numerous opportunities to feel safe in a supportive space and experience a therapeutic level of self-expression. Programs like this nourish the wounded soul and give us the hope to push forward to rebuild lives affected by abuse and other forms of family crisis.”