“Dear Mayor Han­cock” an ex­hibit that puts fo­cus on Den­ver’s home­less

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Ray Mark Ri­naldi

When au­thor Sarah Ger­ard ar­rived in Den­ver this fall, her plans were sure and sim­ple: She’d spend six weeks coach­ing the teens in Plat­teFo­rum’s Learn­ing Lab to write straight­for­ward au­to­bi­ogra­phies, and then to make col­lages from old mag­a­zines that would tell their per­sonal sto­ries in a more art­ful way.

“But then the no­ti­fi­ca­tions came out about the sweeps” said Plat­teFo­rum pro­gram­ming di­rec­tor Re­becca Vaughan. “And ev­ery­thing changed.”

“The sweeps” refers to the city of Den­ver’s cam­paign to move home­less peo­ple in Plat­teFo­rum’s Cur­tis Park neigh­bor­hood off the streets as the weather was turn­ing cold. It went on for weeks, and turned con­tro­ver­sial as po­lice be­gan en­forc­ing the city’s pub­lic “camp­ing ban,” which meant con­fis­cat­ing blan­kets, sleep­ing bags and tarps from cit­i­zens who had no other shel­ter to

Plat­tefo­rum pro­gram di­rec­tor Re­becca Vaughan, left, and artist Sarah Ger­ard ex­am­ine pho­tos of neigh­bor­hood res­i­dents who are deal­ing with is­sues of home­less­ness. The pic­tures are part of the ex­hibit “Dear Mayor Han­cock, What Are You Go­ing to Do?” Ray Ri­naldi, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

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