Thursday, May 8, 2008

Artist's Statement

So, here I am finishing up my blog, eating Doritos and downing Gatorade. No, this isn’t some spot for a commercial, I just couldn’t figure out a better way to start this statement, so I thought I’d give a glimpse into what I’m doing at the moment. Well, let me start it off with this- I’m not an artist. There, I said it. I’m not, never will be, and never was. Ask my art teacher in school, he’ll tell you I was enthusiastic (I never had anything against art), I tried hard, but my work was never of a high quality. Ask my best friend Dan, his dad was the woodshop teacher, we always took a summer woodwork class together, and I’d always end up sanding my wooden boat too much, or hammering the bumper in crooked on my wooden truck, and he’d have to fix it. He’s going to school to be an architect, so, not only can he work with hammers and nails but he can draw as well. I, on the other hand, am a no-nonsense business major. Sure, I have a sense of humor, I mean no-nonsense, in that I don’t do good in creative situations. Want me to calculate fixed interest over 3 years- I can do that. Want me to describe how I feel on a warm, sunny afternoon, or, better yet, draw that, sorry, that’s just not me.
I must admit I was challenged in this project, not in the sense of taking pictures, I mean, anyone with can do that, its just point and click. No, I was challenged in that I had to not only take pictures, but I had to make them artists, and perhaps the biggest challenge was, I had to use my pictures to tell a story. I’m much better with words, I feel comfortable with words, pictures, I just never really thought of framing, and lighting, and all those other things that come into importance when taking a good picture, a meaningful picture.
The pictures I took at HomeSource turned out really nice. If you ever step foot in that warehouse, you’ll realize there is no lack of materials with which to frame a photo. While talking to Toni (director of LAND) and Jimmy (warehouse supervisor) I realized how proud everyone is of this organization, and rightfully so. Jimmy was always pointing out particular items of interest or things, while he didn’t say it specifically, he was proud of. Toni talked about how they have so many items and supplies and their goal is to get more members. I realized that the focus of photos shouldn’t be people, or even homes, but the supplies and the items. It’s the donations that speak volumes, pardon the pun, about this organization. When Toni spoke of the $5000 Kohler tub, or when she said they were always in need of refrigerators and gas stoves, it was obvious that while the people made HomeSource work, the items and tools spoke about it best.
The video was a collaborate work between my group members and me. I did the interview, Jessica took shots of the warehouse, and Diana filmed the interview and uploaded the video. I think it turned out really nice, but it was really hard to figure out how to upload because none of us have a Mac, don’t know really how to use a Mac, and didn’t have a wire to upload it to a PC. Kudos to Diana for figuring out how to upload the video. The interview is with a newer member to HomeSource and an active member of the HomeSource board. She had a lot of input and spoke about all the HomeSource offers residents, I almost wish we could’ve had a longer video to include all she said, but I think the video does more than give her and HomeSource justice.
While my blog is not a pure media blog I feel really good about it; there are words because I felt that while the pictures showcase what HomeSource is all about and what it does and I felt that some writing was necessary to clarify ideas and to give a history of what HomeSource is and what they want for the future- a larger warehouse and more members. I felt I learned a lot about how to make a creative and visually pleasing project- something I’m never really asked to do in my business coursework. I felt before I was limited as an artist, now I feel much more comfortable with a camera and know how to make images not just be visually appealing- but tell a story. I wish I got the blog program down a little better, some of my slideshows are not centered, but I have to say that PhotoBucket is a really nice way to post pictures. I used the materials to showcase all that HomeSource has to offer- and they have a LOT to offer. I hope you enjoy learning more about HomeSource and what an excellent program it is for the Lisbon Avenue area and Milwaukee as a whole.

Where in the world is HomeSource?

I thought it would be a good idea to include a map of the HomeSource area. Remember, to join HomeSource you must meet the requirements, but you don't have to live just in the Lisbon Avenue/Washington Park area, anyone living in Milwaukee can utilize HomeSource, provided they meet the other income requirements, etc. I couldn't figure out how to put the actual map in my blog, but here is the link to the mapquest site. I believe it's set on aerial view, but it can easily be changed to street view. Hope you find this useful.

HomeSource: In their own words

Here is our video! It's a combination of shots we took of the HomeSource warehouse and an interview we took with a local resident, Jessica took film of the warehouse, I did the interviewing while Diana took the video I hope you enjoy it!

HomeSource: A History

I thought it would be a good way to start if I gave you some background information on HomeSource. By this point I'm sure you can surmise what it's all about- providing low cost home supplies (cabinets, appliances, paint, doors, wallpaper, etc.) to individuals (who meet requirements regarding income level, and who live in Milwaukee) who want to fix up their home. There really is nothing else in Milwaukee like it. While there are other programs similar (Habitat for Humanity and ReStore) none is like HomeSource. Those other programs don't except used donations, there are more boundaries, and no tool rental like HomeSource. Here is the story of this unique organization.

HomeSource is part of LAND (Lisbon Avenue Neighborhood Development) and comprises about 50% of its focus. HomeSource was founded about 9 years ago and grew out of the original tool rental program, now called Tool Source. LAND rents out tools to residents at a very low price, there is nothing like it in all of Milwaukee. HomeSource grew out of this as LAND realized that many residents not only needed tools for small projects, but they also needed material to undertake other home repairs. HomeSource complimented the tool rental perfectly- residents had the tools to use and now they had access to affordable materials to improve their homes.

HomeSource started out in a 7,000 sq. foot warehouse, and now is housed in a warehouse with a 10,000 sq. foot capacity- and LAND is looking for an even larger location because of growing donations! HomeSource receives donations from such places as Menards and Home Depot, along with private individual donations. They have also received monetary donations, including a large gift from UPS. HomeSource doesn't just help out residents either, they actively help other nonprofit organizations such as churches. This is also a way to increase membership, HomeSource has hundreds of items and is always looking for more customers to help, at the moment they rely on word of mouth, working through churches is a way to help congregations and then also help out members of the congregation at home.

As mentioned earlier, HomeSource carries everything from paint to sinks, wallpaper to cabinets, toilets to doors, and appliances like refrigerators and stoves. In fact, the top items always in demand are refrigerators and gas stoves. And HomeSource is committed to helping residents as much as possible, while they accept used donations, all items received are checked thoroughly to ensure that only safe items are passed on to customers. HomeSource is always looking and willing to receive more donations, and they have a delivery truck they use to pick up items (pickup only, HomeSource does not deliver out of concern for injury and/or damage). The most unique item ever donated to HomeSource was a $5000 Kohler birthday series bathtub with gold legs! It even came with a matching toilet!

HomeSource is lucky to not only have a large amount of items, but also has a dedicated volunteer core to keep things running smooth; and while taking a stroll through the warehouse it isn't hard to see the dedication of the people working there and how they utilize every square inch of storage space.

*Special thanks goes out to Toni Anderson, director of LAND, who gave me the majority of this information through an interview.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Alright, so I finally feel like I have plenty of media to work with and I am ready to share. I'm one of those types that has to have everything together and set before I can start working, maybe I'm a little OCD that way. Regardless, look to my future posts to contain photos and more detailed descriptions about HomeSource and what a wonderful program it is for the Lisbon Ave area. Here's a sneak peak of what I have in store, it's a nice picture of the sign outside the HomeSource Center. I think the rest of my picture uploads are gonna be in the form of PhotoBucket slideshows and such, now that I have mastered that Internet medium (I use mastered lightly), but it is easier to use, these blogger controls are sluggish and I can't position the image exactly where I'd like to.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Well, I just got back from my third trip to LAND. I found some really nice articles and historical things that I will post up here as soon as they are scanned. I went with Diana, and we went to look for any kind of news articles or anything showcases how HomeSource has grown from being a tool loan program to what it is today. These articles, along with the photos taken on my first visit, and the video compiled on the second trip, will make up the bulk of media on my page. My apologies to not having much multimedia up next, I like to work once I have all the materials, and now I do. Diana has a scanner, so she took the photocopies we made, so those materials will be up soon and we'll be able to post some online here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A picture essay of HomeSource

*Note: I recently edited this post because I realized that because I pasted these photos directly from Pantherfile they were not viewable. So I have re-posted them in a PhotoBucket slideshow, my goal was to post them so they could all be seen at once, but, I am happy with how the slidehow looks. I hope you enjoy!

You'll have to excuse my randomly assorted pictures on this blog, as I am not exactly a pro at using blogspot yet, and I am working on a Mac, and usually I am on a PC. Without my right click I feel most crippled. But, here are a few pictures from my last visit to the LAND's HomeSource. HomeSource is a wonderful program where low-income residents of Milwaukee, who want to fix up their homes, can come and get supplies and appliances at a fraction of the cost. These aren't secondhand goods either, a lot of what is available at HomeSource is of a very high quality and new. The oddest item that HomeSource ever received was a$5000 tub from Kohler with gold legs. The items most in demand are ovens and refrigerators. This restrictive blog program doesn't do my lovely powerpoint justice, but overall I think these photos can convey the different items available and how HomeSource is set up. Up front is the storeroom, while the bulk of items available are back in the warehouse. The storeroom holds smaller items and showcases nice cabinets and such.

This is my artist statement, it describes what I experienced taking photos.

This was the first time I ever used pictures to really convey a deeper meaning, and I found the experience exciting and fulfilling. The story of HomeSource is one that is quite inspiring, and listening to the people who work there made it come more alive than even walking around the storeroom itself.
Putting together the essay was quite simple, PowerPoint is easy to use and a great tool to show the different aspects of HomeSource. I tried to focus on the history and day-to-day logistics of HomeSource. I included information on when it was founded, the warehouse, and what items are most in need.
The information I received by interviewing Toni (who heads LAND), Terri (who works at HomeSource), and Jimmy (who heads the warehouse). It was great to hear from three different people all very much involved in HomeSource, but who work from different areas. Walking around the warehouse and seeing the amount of items is really something, but then hearing Jimmy talk about all the items and how he maintains them and the warehouse really taught me more. It was evident to see how proud he was of all that HomeSource was accomplishing and how much pride he took in the warehouse. Terri talked about how a lot of the recent customers have been women who really want to fix up their houses. This struck me as interesting because in my head when I picture people fixing up their homes I see mostly men. Toni talked about how HomeSource has really grown, and it was clear they have big goals for the future. She talked about their efforts to grow their membership, its clear from walking around and documenting the storeroom and warehouse that they have lots to offer, and how she really hopes that our documentation helps LAND and HomeSource. That gave me a great sense of purpose, and I hope in my final project that I can contribute more and show all that LAND, and more specifically HomeSource, has to offer and is doing in the Lisbon area community.