Design Hope kicks off another hopeful season

For the fourth consecutive year the design community of the Hamilton region is banding together to build hope for the homeless. Oddly, this hope comes in the shape of houses that will never be lived in. Instead, Design Hope has marshalled artists and architects to build small sculpture houses that will be used to raise funds for Hamilton’s Out of the Cold program a rotating homeless shelter and kitchen that operates in churches throughout the winter under the dedicated leadership of Carol Anne Guay.

This year, the home-builders range from internationally acclaimed sculptors, such as Grimsby’s Richard Reitzenstein, who is represented by Olga Korper in Toronto, to the students of Sheila Cummings’ pottery class at the Dundas Valley School of Art. Work got underway last week at Hamilton’s Transit Gallery where Fred Vermeulen of Vermeulen/Hind Architects, gave marching orders to the latest group of artists to be inspired by the social and artistic rewards of the project.

Hamiltonian Norm West, who is one of two glass artists shortlisted for a project at Ground Zero, enthused: "I did a piece last year, and I’m going to do another one this year and hell, I’m going to buy some tickets and hope to win somebody else’s work as well." Potter Scott Barmin, a first-time participant, was more reflective: "I’m glad I’ve got time to do my best work to let it cook and mull it over. Out of the Cold is a great cause and your best art should be deployed in a great cause."

The artists and architects will be creating their pieces until November 5. Then all 19 houses will be shipped to the Carnegie Gallery for display between November 28 and December 10 as excitement builds, corporate donors are solicited, raffle tickets sell and winter makes Out of the Cold essential to the homeless. On Friday, December 10 the sculpture-houses will be raffled and auctioned off at a gala evening at the Carnegie Gallery a process that in the past three years has raised almost $55,000 for Out of the Cold.

The Design Hope idea is spreading. Vancouver’s Patkau Architects is contemplating a Vancouver edition while in Toronto graphic designers and architects are also preparing to replicate the project. Hamilton’s Design Hope envisions a national movement emerging.

For more information, please contact Julia Hansen at (905) 628-1500 or