Signs of the Times

Debate over Denver's potential urban camping ordinance has shined a spotlight on the homeless, but it has done little to put a face on them. Over the past few months, photographer Scott Russell photographed twenty faces, eleven of which will be on display in Cardboard & Concrete, an exhibit of re-appropriated street art that shares the stories of Denver's sign-fliers. Although not all of Denver's sign-fliers -- also known as panhandlers -- are homeless, those in the exhibit are, notes Russell.

"I'd go around on my bike, and I'd feel drawn to people," he says. "What I didn't expect was a new perspective -- on homeless people and on people in general."

Supported by the Denver VOICE, Russell and other artists spent the past five months taking photographs and collecting discarded cardboard signs, all of which will be showcased in the collaborative art space at Wazee Union to add a human element to the issue.

"They're really insightful about life because they're living on the fringes and watching it," says Kristin Pazulski, development director and editor of the VOICE. "They have this poetic voice, and we wanted people to see it as well as their faces. We want people to hear what they have to say."

The free exhibit is open from 7 to 11 p.m. today and tomorrow at Wazee Union, 3501 Wazee Street. For more information, call 303-800-7085 or visit
May 12-13, 7-11 p.m., 2012