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COMMUNITY A Home in the Arts Nicole Brandt's Poverty & the Arts program sees creative homeless people simply as artists by Joe Nolan | photography by Tiffani Bing N icole Brandt is a junior at Belmont University and the founder of Poverty & the Arts. She came up with the idea for her program one day two years ago when she was working at her campus job. As a Campus Coordinator at Belmont's Center of Service Learning, Brandt was responsible for planning three service projects each semester. “I was brainstorming about projects one day, and all of a sudden I got this idea,” she says. “What would happen if homeless people were suddenly able to paint and play music and write in collaboration with other communities?” Brandt gets excited when describing her breakthrough, but it didn't exactly come out of the blue. “I started working with the homeless when I was 18 in high school. But instead of working at a soup kitchen, we'd basically just go and visit homeless people and get to know them by talking with them,” says Brandt. “The thing I love about Poverty & the Arts is that we're creating art together, not just serving them a meal,” she says. “You're not doing something for them, you're doing something with them. It levels the playing field when we all just gather as artists.” 76 | June 2O13

2013 June Nashville Arts Magazine

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