If you’re out and about in Anchorage this summer, you may have already noticed some unique works of art popping up around town. In June, Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) kicked off Housing Matters, a pop-up art project that features house-shaped paintings commissioned from nine local artists.
The project is meant to inspire a conversation about the importance of affordable housing for all Alaskans, says CIRI shareholder and CIHA President and CEO Carol Gore.
“Housing matters to everyone,” she says. “It’s essential for economic success for families and the business community, for the well-being of children and elders, and for a thriving, vibrant community. We know the cost to build in our community is especially challenging, so we’re working community-wide to catalyze local housing incentives and new resources.”
CIRI descendant and artist Danielle Larsen knows first-hand how tough it can be to find affordable housing. “I chose to be part of this project because – as an emerging artist – it’s great exposure, but CIHA also helped me buy my first house,” she explains.
Larsen is completing her bachelor’s degree in painting and Alaska Native art with the support of scholarships from The CIRI Foundation. She works in a variety of mediums, including skin sewing, beading, carving and casting.
Her CIHA painting depicts an owl, an animal she’s always found herself drawn to. Larsen hopes other individuals and families will see the art project and be inspired to talk about housing issues.
The CIHA art project is mobile and will move between locations all over town, including the Park Strip, Town Square, Dimond Center and the Downtown Anchorage Market. In October, the campaign will end with an auction of the paintings; proceeds will benefit CIHA’s Resident Engagement Initiative for Elders.
For more information about CIHA’s Housing Matters project, visit www.cookinlethousing.org/housingmatters.