heArt from the Streets

A beacon of opportunity for marginalized artists, particularly those experiencing homelessness in the Windsor-Essex, ON area.We aim to destigmatize homelessness while providing a secure and nurturing environment, equipping artists with the supplies and a safe space to express themselves creatively.

What we offer

heArt from the Streets is dedicated to enriching the community through creative expression and social impact.

01 — Safe and Supportive Environment

Ensure the physical host space is welcoming, safe, and conducive to creativity.

02 — Access to Art Supplies

Establish a system to provide artists with the necessary art supplies free of charge.

03 — Workshop and Training Programs

Provide mentorship opportunities with experienced artists to help build skills and confidence. Develop workshops and training programs that address the specific needs of individuals dealing with homelessness.

04 — Community Engagement

Foster a sense of community among the participating artists by organizing regular gatherings, meetings, or collaborative projects to encourage peer support and collaboration to create a network of artists who can inspire and uplift each other.

05 — Community Partnerships

Collaborate with local organizations, shelters, and mental health facilities to identify and reach out to potential artists.

06 — Documentation and Storytelling

Share the stories and experiences of the artists involved through various media channels to raise awareness about the challenges faced by marginalized individuals and the transformative power of art.

Current Projects

"1000 Burgers" Made in YQG Collaboration - 2024

Inspired by a local influencer's misrepresented donation claims (1000 burgers), this project aims to turn adversity into opportunity by supporting and empowering local artists experiencing homelessness.

Previous Projects

"Colors of Resilience" 2023

In its first year, Heart from the Streets (formerly Colors of Resilience) launched its inaugural exhibit, showcasing the talents of marginalized artists and raising nearly $3,000 entirely for the artists involved.

Meet the team

"Colors of Resilience" - 2023

With a successful debut exhibition that raised funds solely for the artists, heArt from the Streets demonstrated the transformative power of art in promoting inclusivity, equality, and creativity within the community.This initial success served as a learning opportunity, inspiring the program to expand and improve its offerings, with a focus on increasing community involvement, fostering artist development, and amplifying its impact.

"Colours of Resilience: a passion project helping the homeless" - Joelle Brassard, MediaPlex

Lyndsay Belcoure, WYC
Since I was little, I struggled with depression. Around 12, I was put into my own world whe I picked up a pencil to sketch, I felt like I had a chance to escape. I like to include words in my painting, ones that are relevant to the piece itself, like “one day at a time,”
This piece is entitled “Lost/drifted” and is inspired by my mom, who passed away one year ago. “Lost/drifted” is a picture of my feelings since her passing, which is why there are a lot of different colours: yellow for happy, blue for sad, green for hope on the other side (green was my mom’s favourite colour, too).
Miranda Duarte, WYC
I was born and raised in Leamington, I came to Windsor after I sold my house and made the decision to pursue sobriety here, in Windsor. I chose the slogan “one day at a time” to remind myself that I cannot rush through being sober. I have to take it easy, one day at a time. I want it to happen like yesterday, I want everything accomplished all at once but that's just not realistic.
Miranda wanted to remind everyone who sees themselves as an addict: it’s never too late to try to get sober, don’t give up - nobody gets shit done by giving up.
And to everyone, not just those in recovery: life is just one day at a time, that's all we really have. Whatever happens, happens.
Anne Callaghan, WYC
“The Sin of the World”
My inspiration originally guided my piece to be the sacred heart of Jesus - his heart bursting into the blue sky, then it was turned into a sunflower, after coming back, this turned into a story about my life.
My life is a story of complex trauma. then turns back into the story of the sacred heart.
The sacred heart of Jesus is a belief in Catholicism which explains that the blood of Jesus is our salvation.
So now here I am down on earth, him as my savior, there is no way to live sin free because I am in human flesh and this human flesh wants what it wants, and it does not always desire holy things. So I repent, I am supposed to be righteous but when I can’t be Jesus carries my burdens.
Red for the heart, blue for the sky (as a form of ascension), orange as a burst of color.
Jamie Plouffe, WYC
“Monarch the Patriarchy”
The central focus of the image is the butterfly, on top of the butterfly is blurred lines of paint. This highlights the beauty of being seen while also having the desire to blend in.
Butterflies are beautiful creatures who do not get to enjoy their own beauty, they cannot see themselves, they need constant reminders. This is how I see myself.
“Zombify me”
The prompt for this piece was to create ourselves in the style of Tim Burton. I figured that was fitting since he highlights ghostly and dead looking figures, and that reflected how I felt at the time.
Currently 29, Jamie is a trans person who was formerly experiencing homelessness and addiction at a young age, 23. They then worked towards stability in finding housing and sober recovery through the help of the Windsor Youth Centre.
“untitled” by Jamie Plouffe
Jamie started this painting at one of the workshops, during which they were explaining an emotion they felt stuck in. They were encouraged by one of the facilitators of the workshop to experiment with using color to convey emotion, as opposed to realism. Although it was something new for them to try, they pulled it off so well!!
“untitled” by Jamie Plouffe
Tyler McIntyre, WYC
the inspiration for the piece comes from my love for space and the depiction of a bonfire is from a video game called “dark souls”. This video game is inspired from the anime called “Bezerk” which has greatly impacted my art style.
“Windsor skyline”
This piece is to pay homage to the beautiful sunsets that often occur over the windsor skyline. This physical painting is inspired by a digital painting I have created.
Cookie, Ashley, Bree, Meaghan:
These paintings were done by the volunteers at the workshops hosted at the Windsor Youth Center. Cookie and Ashley mention that their favorite part about working at the WYC is getting to spend time and get to know the youth attending the program.
Their pieces will be auctioned off and all proceeds will be donated to the youth at the WYC to help meet their needs for hygiene supplies, food, snacks.
Cody (Robber macs):
My nickname “Robber Mac’s” comes from a friend of mine. It comes from the nickname I got while in jail “Mac’s milk bandit”. When I became “Robber Macs,” the story wrote itself.
Cody is someone who fell into criminality out of need and ended up going to jail, but has since gotten out and now wants to make his mom proud with his art by telling his story.
“I want to take my biggest failure and turn it into my biggest success”
Fun fact: You can find a musical soundtrack to the comic by searching Robber Macs up on YouTube
@themacsmilkbandit on instagram
original comic pages not for saleYung Drilla, WYC
Yung Drilla, WYC
Ma’iingan, WYC:
“Walking Whales”
Coming out of a creative block, I turned to imagery that brings me comfort, which is reminiscent of the life I grew up around in BC. I used to watch the whales swim by over the shore as the boats passed. This is a very fond memory for me and I look to it when I need inspiration.
Lenna Bodchon:
“trick or treat” The inspiration for this piece is Hallowe’en.
I brought together all of the aspects that I appreciate about Hallowe’en into one.
“Portrait of Inosuke Hashibira”
“The beauty in Anime”
“Portrait of Grelle Sutcliff from Black butler”
I’ve been watching anime since I was in the 7th grade and I connected to it because of the detail the artists put into animating the storyline. Anime has been a big influence on experimenting with different art styles for me.
John Durnion, H4
Previously living in Tennessee, John used to raise horses when he was younger. He lived on a farm when he was born and he used to feed and watch the horses. He reminisced of a time when a horse was coming down the path from the hill and it fell on its back with all 4 legs up in the air.
“Home” John Durnion, H4
“Honeybee” John Durnion, H4
Designs by Sav x WYC Trench Coat
Sav, the designer behind Windsors best dressed, volunteered their time through the month of July, and provided participating youth and volunteers with patches of raw canvas to paint on, which is what you see covering the trench coat here.
Half of the proceeds made from the sale of this piece will go to the artist behind it, as well as to the Windsor Youth Centre to assist with meeting basic needs of youth accessing the services provided by the WYC.
Kim Graham, H4
“eclipse of the moon”
In the last 50 years, the moon has made more changes than it ever has before. It’s closer to earth than it’s ever been before.
One night I looked at the moon and thought to myself “holy crap how did I not notice that it’s been there all day!” The moon looked massive! The size of a building, and during the day, too!! I notice it a lot, it’s bright, on a dark night I look to it for light.
Dave McDonald, H4
I have been drawing since I was 5 years old, I pull inspiration from my mind and my story. I like to use art as a way to capture my feelings and thoughts as well as my surroundings. I am influenced by graffiti-style works and other artists.
Kyle Falk, H4
I made this piece at Waterworld. I wanted to commemorate the water. It was a rainy day so I wanted to have the sun peeking through, the blue as the main focus and the red to represent us as people. I’ve been spray painting since I was in the 8th grade, maybe you’ve seen some of my works…
Ash Hart, H4
I want to be transparent about what has led me to pursue art: I have BPD and would love to say that it's been a coping mechanism, but really it's been more like a best friend. When I had nobody else to turn to, I knew that I could always turn to art. This specific collection was made from materials I had readily available to me - I wanted to give new life to the stuff that was tossed to the side of the road: unconventional materials like cayenne pepper, cake sparkles, other cooking materials, and childrens place mats. This era of my art was necessary for me to move on from my past and heal.
Artists note about this piece: When I made this piece, it was right after I stopped doing all drugs, and felt the need to humble myself before God. When I quit drugs, it made me see light in the darkness, through visions of these muscular, bald, angelic men I recognized to be Cherbum-level angels. This is about the time I adopted the belief that we are all one collective soul but we choose out disconnections.
For artist inquiries: unveiled741@gmail.com
Ann Reno, H4
Inspired by the works of Dali, Monet, and Picasso, I am a surrealist artist, who incorporates realistic elements into my drawings. I enjoy taking an idea and adding a twist to it to give it its own personality.
Reno served as the inspiration for this project's genesis; she had an entire portfolio of really well done drawings with original concepts that played with the viewer's mind. Being this talented, we thought that it was unfair that she couldn't connect with as many people as she should be able to, given her current living conditions. So we started the Colors of Resilience project to uplift her talent, giving her a proper sized audience for her proper sized artistic talent.
“Portrait of Inosuke Hashibira” Lenna Bodchen, WYC
“The beauty in Anime” Lenna Bodchen, WYC
“Portrait of Grelle Sutcliff from Black butler” Lenna Bodchen, WYC
“Let's not teach hate” Ma'iingan, WYC
“CUBA” Nereida Divera, WWC
Nereida is a Cuban woman, and reminisces on her time among so much color. She is one of the funniest, most creative people Windsor has. Nereida does not walk out without an outfit that meets her standards, and shades to match, and regularly makes her own clothes, and fabric dolls.
Robin East, WWC
Lindsay Leniux, WWC
Chantal Ronson, WWC
Gigi Whitney, WWC
Rachel Richie, WWC
Anne Enriquez, WWCAny piece without a name - all proceeds split among Homelessness Housing Help Hub, Womens Welcome Centre, Windsor Youth CentrePaige, H4Malik, H4
''Windsor Skyline'' Tyler McIntyre, WYC
''Landscape'' Tyler McIntyre,, WYC
''Chapter 3'' Printed poster, 12''x18'' by Cody F, WYC
former Macs Milk Bandit
''Robber Macs Cover'' Collage poster, 18''x24'' by Cody F, WYC
formerly Macs Milk Bandit
''Down the Rabbit Hole'' Ann Reno, H4
''Skulls Delight'' Ann Reno, H4
''African Caruing'' Ann Reno, H4
''Broken Spirit'' Ann Reno, H4
''Naked Truth'' Ann Reno, H4
''Real Reflections'' Ann Reno, H4
''Totems'' Ann Reno, H4
(from pictures of old totem poles on the internet)
''Cats Eye'' Ann Reno, H4

How to support heArt from the Streets/Upcoming Events

This is just the start of "1000 Burger Project"! We are beyond excited to share more about our upcoming mural in Ford City, apparel/print launch, art supply/can drive and final showing including a silent auction of original works in August 2024. Details coming soon.To stay up to date on our upcoming events, launches and project details please follow @madeinyqg @heartfromthestreets on instagram

If you like what we are doing in the community, a share would mean the world to us!Please tag us and use #heartfromthestreets #madeinyqg if you visit our display!

Thoughts behind the project and its success
by Batool

If you’re reading this, you’re probably curious about why a project like HeArt from the Streets, known in its first iteration as “Colors of Resilience,” an art show wherein people experiencing homelessness, to the extent of accessing shelter services in the City of Windsor, were platformed for their artistic talent, is vital for the positive projection of this city. This project was funded for the years 2023 and 2024 by the City of Windsor’s Arts, Cultural, and Heritage Fund, a city-wide opportunity for our most marginalized members of the community to have the chance to “make it as an artist,” just like the rest of us.This project hinged on 3 ideals: what if we flipped Maslow’s Hierarchy upside down?
Was the city of Windsor, Ontario and the experience of homelessness hiding Van-Gogh, Basquiat, or Picasso-level talent? What does instilling a city-wide arts and crafts series of workshops mean for the homeless community, and is it worth it?
Working off of those questions, HeArt from the Streets, a collective made up of social workers and artists alike, was formed. Batoolio, the founder of the collective and project, is a self-taught artist, based in Windsor, Ontario. She got her start in the underground arts scene of the city her family immigrated to when she was 4 years old, where she lived in a “low threshold” household. Her family originates in Palestine, and following a displacement moved to Jordan, and eventually the artist was born in Abu Dhabi. Growing up the child of an immigrant family came with its own set of challenges, and trying to navigate a culture her parents couldn’t adapt to meant brief moments of displacement, and mental health concerns at a young age for the artist. It also meant the continuous vye for a purpose, which led down a road of addiction, and ultimately landed her in working in the social service field to help others navigate the system that doesn’t make sense. The only consistent outlet for the artist was carrying a notebook around and using her words and drawings to capture the inexplicable, bigger-than-the-world feelings about her unfair circumstances. She thought that if having this outlet had helped guide her to resilience as an option, what could this mean for the community she’d grown so fond of working with?Then came January 2023, when she was working for the City of Windsor, at their Homelessness Housing Help Hub, and discovered that one of their attendees, or “clients,” had doodled all over her green boots. Batoolio felt an instant connection with this artist who would later be known as Ann Reno, and knew there was something special about her creative ability. When asked, Ann Reno pulled out the portfolio of works she’d been carrying around in her backpack since she was forced into homelessness following unfortunate circumstances. She’d been one of those clients that refused to engage with the housing services, but found solace in the casual day-to-day services like snacks, and meals, and often you’d find her in the corner of the gym creating visual masterpieces while a 2014 romcom or some other movie streaming on Netflix was projected onto the former indoor waterpark’s wall. Under bleak circumstances, she too sought refuge in the creation of other-worldly concepts by bringing them to life through surrealist pencil sketches. Ann Reno was the inspiration behind the project, because if there was room for a self-taught abstract expressionist artist, then surely there would be room for a very talented surrealist sketch artist.Thus was born, “Colors of Resilience,” or as it was called prior to its first show, “Artwork by those Experiencing Homelessness,” which didn’t have quite the same ring to it as its first renditions name, or how it’s now known as “HeArt from the Streets,” Spare you the boring details, and skip right to its effects. HeArt from the Streets 2023, with a funding budget of $1072, a group of 5 dedicated volunteers conducting workshops across all the shelters, and a lot of hope and faith, saw its fair share of stories.To tie this back into the title of the article here, what’s the thought behind the project? Well, did you know that most of the shelters that operate in general, but specifically in Windsor, operate under the “Housing First” (HF) model, which relies on Maslow’s Hierarchy as its backbone? The HF model says that if someone experiencing homelessness is provided with permanent housing above everything else on Maslow’s Hierarchy (see below), that person will then have the ability to meet everything else on the hierarchy on their own/with post-housing supports. The issue with this is that it rarely works for many reasons, and is often the cause of high rates of recidivism, or re-entering homelessness. It doesn’t factor in adverse trauma, related experiences, survivor’s guilt, and is essentially throwing our most vulnerable members of the community into the deep end of the pool and forcing them to learn how to swim without even so much as a floatie. The reason we see such high rates of transient homelessness in Windsor is because this model ultimately fails its user, and up until very recently, was not implemented to its fullest extent. While everyone is created equally, some are forced into lives where they know traumatic experiences more than they know birthday parties, and this is why this model fails. You cannot expect a soul to survive the harshness of a cruel world when all they’ve known is how bad it can be.So, this is the thought behind the project: we must show them that the world can be kind, and that they have the tools to bring this kindness out of themselves by changing their perspective. What happens if we flip Maslow’s Hierarchy on its head, and give people experiencing homelessness a chance to fulfill their self-actualization needs above all else?To self-actualize means to fulfill your other-worldly duty that’s given to you at birth. It poses the question of: who would you be if the world you were born into didn’t spend most of its time telling you who not to be? What would you do, if you had a voice that was heard by the masses, what would you communicate and what would you say? To “self-actualize” is to step into your innate human and creative power, and with the workshops provided by HeArt from the Streets, everyone is given the same opportunity to show up for themselves.So, what happens? Well, you get people who: start engaging in housing services, and are able to keep their housing. Some go back to school and pick up an artsy subject to study, like fashion design, others start Instagram accounts and gain a following for their craft. Above all else, you remind people of their humanity. So, now you’re housing folks, giving them a chance to revitalize their identity, and even just practically, helping these folks with exposure to the arts scene, fulfill dreams they never thought would be fulfilled in this lifetime, and helping them make money!Altogether the show in 2023 pulled double, almost triple the amount of money given to the project by the city of Windsor, and a third of that money went to one of the artists, the rest distributed amongst a group of about 30 other artists. This is life changing money for some people, and has clearly proven to change lives, as well. The show in 2023 also held over 60 pieces of art, and hosted 30 artists, with only 5 people facilitating workshops over the course of 3 months. Every single piece sold, which meant all of our artists were paid full commission off of their piece!This show also takes a screenshot of our current community of folks experiencing homelessness, capturing their experience, and on one occasion, reuniting families with their worlds after untimely passings. One of our artists wrote a poem last year and unfortunately lost their life to an opiate overdose before the show. Their family hadn’t heard from them in a long time, and so the family was invited to see their work, and take home the framed original. It wasn’t much, but it was something they could take home that reminded them of their beloved, and a chance for the family to reminisce on their loved one in a safe space, over art they created. A piece of them.In 2024, we doubled the amount of volunteers, and fostered a community of artists in the city who can find out about this project and give their art a platform. All workshops have been ongoing since February of this year, as consistently as made possible. This year, the project’s “1000 burger project” was featured at Art Windsor Essex in their community display room for the month of May!If you’d like to check out the results of this city-wide arts and crafts workshop, come to ArtSpeak Gallery located at 1942 Wyandotte St E., from August 19-September 1st to support our artists, place a bid on their art, maybe pick up a burger-themed t-shirt, or come meet the artists who will be featured in the show!

If you like what we are doing in the community, a share would mean the world to us!Please tag us and use #heartfromthestreets #madeinyqg if you visit our display!

"1000 Burgers" Made in YQG collab

The 1000 Burger Project is a collaboration with local creator Jake from Made in YQG, aimed at benefiting the Downtown Mission, heArt from the Streets and Artists involved.Inspired by a local influencer's misrepresented donation claims (1000 burgers) to charity, a figure which was “only used to clickbait the videos” (his own words) - This project is dedicated to turning the influencer's superficial gestures into an opportunity to genuinely support our homeless community.This collaboration not only provides vital support but also amplifies the voices of vulnerable individuals in the community who are actively subjected to exploitation (being filmed without their permission, monetizing their suffering, etc)After hearing about this incident, Made in YQG reached out to heArt from the Streets (formerly Colors of Resilience). Together, we commissioned local artists via heArt from the Streets art workshops taken place in local shelters, to create hamburger-themed artwork, with proceeds supporting the artists themselves, heArt from the Streets and the Downtown Mission.Following our community display in Art Windsor Essex - WFCU Eco Space from April 2 to April 21, 2024 to showcase our progress, we are are committed to continuing the mission of the 1000 Burger Project and plan to create merchandise, prints, and organize fundraising events with the ultimate goal of hosting a final showing and silent auction of the original artworks in August 2024.Through these ongoing efforts, we aim to continue raising awareness and funds to continue providing opportunities for artistic expression through art workshops and community engagement.To stay up to date on our upcoming events and launches, please follow @madeinyqg @heartfromthestreets on instagram

Community Contributions

@ghawkart (top) and @fivefoottwopottery(bottom)
Thank you for believing in the project and contributing your work to be displayed and auctioned off to benefit Downtown Mission & heArt from the Streets.

Thank you to Allan @criticaldesigns for your contribution and help with last minute print media to help decorate and advertise our community display!

During our last burger workshop at h4 before our first display, @whamburg.yqg donated 25 burgers for our artists to enjoy a delicious lunch while they created!

The "1000 Burger Project" plans to allocate proceeds from its silent auction in August and merchandise/print sales to support the Downtown Mission, heArt from the Streets and the artists involved.This approach ensures that the project supports not only the homeless community and artists through heArt from the streets initiatves but also contributes to vital shelter services provided by the DTM.

After hearing about the project, Local Artist @dissociationdude contributed his "Bird Boy" character enjoying a burger to join the cause! We are extremely grateful for your contribution!

Batool - Founder - heArt from the Streets

Batoolio is a Palestinian-Canadian, Windsor-based, self-taught artist, and 2023 recipient of the City of Windsor’s ACHF grant, which she used to put on Windsor’s first Colors of Resilience gallery of curated works. Batoolio’s work has been exhibited in both group and solo shows at Phog Lounge, Artspeak Gallery, and as Artcite’s 2023 BIPOC Artist in Residence. Her work can also be seen on Spotify as cover art for Windsor-based musicians Dagobah Green, Dig Samples, under their music, as well as logo designs for local brand Designs by Sav, and CJAM 99.1 to develop a sticker for their 2023 Charity Drive. Batoolio draws inspiration from classic painters Freida Khalo, Vincent Van Gogh, and more recent works by Jean-Michael Basquiat, and Keith Harring, and uses their philosophies to teach workshops in Windsor.

Jake (@madeinyqg) - heArt from the Streets (1000 Burger Project) - Project Coordinator

Jake is the chaotic good behind Made in YQG - a passion project dedicated to supporting local Windsor Essex.Jake’s willingness to think outside the box and challenge the status quo through unconventional approaches to supporting local initiatives and addressing community challenges has recently made waves throughout YQG. His bold approach has not only garnered attention but has also inspired others to take action and get involved in making a difference in Windsor-Essex.As a content creator, Jake leverages his platform to shine a spotlight on local businesses, artists, and initiatives, amplifying their voices and helping them reach a wider audience. Through his engaging and authentic content, he connects with the community and showcases the talent that thrives in Windsor-Essex, while encouraging his community to support local.

Kenz/Mackenzie - Volunteer Coordinator
heArt from the Streets

Meet Mackenzie, our Volunteer Coordinator at "HeART of the Streets" in Windsor, Ontario. With a heart rooted in Social Work, Mackenzie jumped into working with those experiencing homelessness in 2017, before completing her Bachelor of Social Work in 2020. As an artist herself, Mackenzie speaks the language of creativity, recognizing its unique power in fostering resilience. In her role, Mackenzie is instrumental in orchestrating a network of amazing volunteers who contribute to the organization's mission of providing creative outlets for our community members experiencing homelessness. It’s more than just coordinating volunteers; it's about weaving a tight-knit community where art is a lifeline that can also be an income assisting those experiencing homelessness in finding their way through tough times.Mackenzie's vision for Volunteer Coordinator is not just about mobilizing volunteers; it's about creating a space where the vibrant hues of art blend with all realities of life, even the harsh ones. She's all about hands on and down to earth support, ensuring that every participant, every volunteer, and every piece of art, contributes to a tapestry of hope and empowerment for our community facing homelessness in Windsor.

Nahin K - Financial Coordinator
heArt from the Streets

Nahin is a Tax Professional by day and Musician by night. You could say he like playing with numbers and sounds."I came across this program through Batool when heArt from the Streets was looking for someone who could help manage their finances. I had some past experience working in the financial sector, so I gladly volunteered. And the best part was that I was trying to help out fellow artists."