To celebrate the dawn of a new year, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on a past project that is near to our hearts.
“Abject Object”, which began in 2009, was an early attempt to develop series of products and workshops that were focused on creating pathways to skills, income, and a creative outlet for homeless women in the notorious Skid Row district of Los Angeles. It was co-developed in partnership with the amazing folks of the Downtown Women’s Center, and an equally amazing, diverse and ever-evolving roster of design volunteers. We met every Sunday for five years, volunteering our time from the craft rooms or windowless basements of the DWC’s old building on Los Angeles street.
It wasn’t always easy, glamorous or even fun, but it provided a crash course in the often messy intricacies of working directly with community stakeholders, and attempting to bring a sustaining social enterprise to life. In 2009, Project H volunteer Jenny Liang helped produce a brief video that shows a glimpse into the process.
Perhaps the most powerful and enduring aspect of these efforts were not the individual projects and products as we originally assumed, but the workshop and engagement model that continues in some form to this day. Five years after we began the initiative, the DWC is celebrating the success of Made—a brick-and-mortar social enterprise located at its new building on San Pedro street in Downtown.
Made provides a public face to the organization and an opportunity to broadcast it's mission of hope and resilience. It’s a place to stop in for a coffee and check out a range of handmade goods, some of which are still produced in on-site workshops with the women of the DWC.