Take It to the Street

In spite of all those panhandlers and sign-spinners on street corners reminding us every day of the modern epidemic, we can’t claim homelessness as a strictly 21st-century blight. History tells us otherwise, and that’s the underlying theme in a pair of shows opening today at the Loveland Museum/Gallery.

First, there’s Hobos to Street People: Responses to Homelessness From the New Deal to the Present, a touring show with roots in the Depression era that looks forward by following the progression of socially conscious art from New Deal WPA-style graphics all the way up to the present. The second exhibition, Dorothea Lange: Precarious Lives, is a perfect companion: Comprising 25 stark black-and-white photographs from Lange’s tour of employment with the federal government during the days of the Dust Bowl, no show could more completely express the human condition as it documents American families in exile.

A number of events have been planned around these shows, beginning with tonight’s 5:30 p.m. gallery talk featuring Hobos curator Art Hazelwood, a progressive artist himself. Beyond that, events include a formal lecture by Hazelwood on Saturday at the Rialto Theater in Loveland, a free panel on personal stories of the homeless on June 28, a Poverty Simulation Exercise on July 12 and an Ugly Quilt workshop with Judith Trager on July 14, for which participants will create sleeping bags from repurposed scraps.

Hobos and Dorothea Lange continue through August 12 at the museum, 503 North Lincoln Avenue in Loveland; admission is $5 (museum members admitted free), except on free-admission Saturdays — June 23, July 14 and August 9. For details and a complete listing of surrounding events, visit www.ci.loveland.co.us or call 970-962-2410.
June 21-Aug. 12, 2012