A Spiral of Hope

Bryan Ohno of Urban Art Concept
Bryan Ohno of Urban Art Concept

YWCA Events Specialist Kizha Davidson interviews Bryan Ohno, president of Urban Art Concept and lead artist on The Spiral Project.

Family homelessness is not a rare occurrence. The YWCA provides emergency shelter to 10,000 homeless people in King and Snohomish counties. All too often, women and families in crisis have nowhere to turn and end up on their friend’s couch or in their car. Almost half of the homeless people in Washington state at any one time are families with children. They are the invisible homeless.

This sunny Mother’s Day, I visited Lake Union Park to see The Spiral Project, a collaborative public art piece that hopes to raise awareness of family homelessness. The project is led by Bryan Ohno from Urban Art Concept, who shared a few words about his inspiration, the goals of the project, and how members of the community can get involved.

The Spiral Project is open to the public and will be up through June 17 at Lake Union Park.

Several volunteers were constructing the spiral when I arrived, using zip ties to secure pieces of wood to the 300-foot-long structure. Traversing the entire length of the spiral takes about one and a half minutes. The sculpture was created in partnership with the Seattle Parks & Recreation and Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness, supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The spiral is a naturally occurring shape that has inspired artists for centuries, yet is something we rarely encounter in urban settings. It is an inviting and intriguing shape, one that draws people in, literally and figuratively.

The goal of this work is to engage the community, drawing people in to explore the sculpture and getting them to consider the issue of family homelessness in a different way. Ohno hopes to do this by using the structure in innovative ways. One idea is to set up a table in the center and invite small groups of people to dine there, putting a twist on the concept of a soup kitchen.

Would you like to help raise awareness of family homelessness? Get a group of friends, co-workers, or students together and go visit the Spiral Project. For a deeper experience, contact Urban Art Concept and schedule your group visit. Just send an email to info@urbanartconcept.com or go to their website and click on Spiral Project Volunteer.

For more information about family homelessness in general, visit the National Center for Family Homelessness.

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