‘Invisible Neighbors’ exhibition shines light on local unhoused population

“Invisible Neighbors,” an art exhibition at the Community Center as part of the February Sonoma Art Walk, will highlight the personal narratives of those experiencing housing insecurity in the valley.|

Sonoma Community Center is unveiling “Invisible Neighbors,” an exhibition for the Sonoma Art Walk on March 7. The exhibit will shed light on the local unhoused population through a multimedia display of images and videography.

Co-sponsored by Homeless Action Sonoma, “Invisible Neighbors” is an effort to challenge the misconceptions about housing insecurity and foster community engagement towards finding sustainable solutions, according to a press release from the Center.

The multimedia exhibit features the work of local artists and volunteer Osias Encarnacion. The collection brings to life the stories, faces and realities of those experiencing housing insecurity in Sonoma.

“I hope my artwork will help dispel many of the misunderstandings that people have of the homeless,” Encarnacion said. “They are our neighbors in need who have been caught in economic and personal circumstances that have left them homeless with little support or resources available.”

Encarnacion’s work highlights personal narratives as well as draws awareness to this social issue globally.

“Invisible Neightbors” will line the upstairs hallway, now called the Causeway Gallery at the Center. On March 7 at 5 p.m., the Community Center will kick off the Sonoma Art Walk with an opening reception for the exhibition featuring Encarnacion and wines from Deerfield Ranch.

The exhibit will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. through March 31 with no admission fee.

On March 12, the Center is hosting a community forum at 6:30 p.m. in Andrews Hall. The event will provide a space for an open dialogue about the housing insecurity crisis in Sonoma and feature insights from local nonprofits, officials and community members.

The forum aims to educate the community about ongoing efforts to address the unhoused population and how locals can contribute to making a difference.

Ted Nordquist programs director of Homeless Action Sonoma said, “Together, we can dispel myths, foster understanding and take active steps towards ending homelessness in our community.”

During the Sonoma Art Walk, an exhibit celebrating Women’s History Month is also available for viewing from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. in Gallery 212. Two short films from Sonoma International Film Festival will screen every 10 minutes. For more information, go to www.sonomacommunitycenter.org or call 707-938-4626.

You can reach Staff Writer Emma Molloy at emma.molloy@sonomanews.com.

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