Thursday, October 2, 2008


Howdy. Welcome to The Real Dirt, DiverseWorks’ weekly blog. You’ll get the skinny from a different staff member each week – sharing stories, ideas and opinions on the “inner workings” of DW.

This season is starting off not like we planned. The entire staff at DiverseWorks is pretty good at “going with the flow” and “enjoying the process,” but Hurricane Ike tested all of that. We’re lucky, don’t get me wrong - no one hurt, no particular damage to the space or to our respective homes – with only some of the staff suffering from the lack of electricity (happy to report that the entire staff has electricity, though it took 15 days for some).

Right before the hurricane, we hung Ben DeSoto’s Understanding Poverty exhibit on poverty and homelessness in Houston over the past 20 years. While we worked with Ben to make this exhibit happen, we knew it was a topic that is “of the moment,” little did we know how clear that moment was going to hit home.

Each day I come to work, I have the opportunity to look at the photographs and absorb the stories. It reminds me how completely lucky I am. I have my partner Matthew, my family and my friends who helped out throughout the 11 days without electricity. Our home had turned into a big, messy closet I didn’t want to go into. I admit that I was a wreck without that place I could call Home, without that sanctuary. It was hard for me to think beyond that day because of uncertainty, exhaustion and the dissolution of my routine. So many people I know – artists, administrators, creative types – all live on a paycheck -to-paycheck existence. We’re living on just this side of “not making it” – and “making it” is now completely redefined (I so live in a world of luxuries).

It’s exciting to be part of an exhibition that so fulfills our mission; Ben’s Understanding Poverty isn’t about politics, isn’t just about the striking photographs - it inspires questions, engages ideas and has changed my daily life. The exhibit tells many stories, but the one that continually comes home to me is about generosity.

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