Stable Ground addresses the complicated relationship between chronic housing insecurity, its psychologically traumatic impact, and municipal housing policy through a participatory community-based art and cultural program structured to inform the work of the City of Boston’s Office of Housing Stability. This project allowed us to create a residency program that embeds artists, legal designers, and trauma experts into community settings that contribute to local visual/performing arts exhibits and art-making events. These events have included facilitated conversations among artists, residents, activists, organizers, experts, and municipal leaders, all structured to inform existing OHS services and those in development. The cross-sector team formed by the Stable Ground initiative was funded by the Kresge Foundation, and it represents a collaboration between four service-aligned organizations: NuLawLab, the Office of Housing Stability, Violence Transformed, and the Domestic Violence Institute.
The Kresge Foundation made an initial grant of $200,000 to the NuLawLab in 2017. Through a recent renewal grant from The Kresge Foundation, we are now entering our third year of Stable Ground. This next iteration of Stable Ground will continue to develop knowledge that will inform cutting-edge policy and program development, all centered on addressing the unique attributes of the trauma that comes from housing insecurity. We believe in the power of the creative process to inform and directly influence policy.
This renewal award will enable the NuLawLab and its community and municipal partners to continue to address the complicated relationship among chronic housing insecurity, its psychologically traumatic impact, and municipal housing policy through participatory community-based art and culture programming.
Collaborations with local artists are central to Stable Ground. This coming year, through Stable Ground, the NuLawLab is engaged with three Artists in Residence (AIR), a Community Storytelling Curator, and is expanding its work with local artist, organizer, and educator Anthony Romero. The Stable Ground AIR program creates an opportunity for visual and performing artists to develop their social-based artistic practice to become engaged in a thoughtful, facilitated dialogue with community members about the personal impact that housing insecurity has on Boston’s residents.