Painting with "Stories Connecting Us All" in words


by Pauline Curtiss and Rose Leitner for Heading Home

Shadowboxes made of reclaimed wood, metal and plexi-glass, acrylic paint, 2018

On view in The Umbrella's Black Box Gallery September 2019 - February 2020

Combined Artist Statement

Our concept for this work was to take the tenuous struggles and triumphs of many women’s lives touched and helped by Heading Home, into a large-scale monument.  The dark moody colors representing chaos and tough times paired with the brightness of strong female spirit with the power to shine through and transform to beauty that is both piercing and courageous.  We made indirect marks of the streets, of the city landscape, textures of harshness and layers being covered by the passage of time. 

We went to a Heading Home shelter where we asked clients to share in words what gives them hope, strength, and courage. The women’s words were incorporated into the piece written by themselves on transparent perm papers.  Poetry of where they find strength, the people who help them find the courage to move forward through it all.  Precious whispers of their personal journeys, each delicate so they would almost fly away, become solid and huge and powerful when bonded together on these metal panels.

They are designed to be shadowboxes, surrounded by boards of reclaimed wood from stadium seating, metal on the back and plexi-glass fronts so women can tell their own stories interactively by writing to the women’s writings in the painting, to each other.

Our process of collaboration on this piece was reminiscent of the story that we are painting about.  We brought our own languages, our own ways of painting, and by embracing communication and flexibility, were able to come up with something larger than we would have found alone.  


About Heading Home

Heading Home Logo

Heading Home provides a vital pathway to housing independence founded on the principle that self-direction ensures sustainability.  Successfully supporting 1,400 families and individuals annually, Heading Home is a leader in disrupting cycles of homelessness in Greater Boston. Established in 1974, Heading Home is Boston's leading provider of emergency shelter, transitional, and permanent housing for low-income families and individuals. When paired with financial literacy, life skills, and job training, our unique approach sets clients on a pathway to self-sufficiency.