This week mannequins are coming out of the windows of Manhattan shops and taking to the streets to help spread the word that when New Yorkers come together, change is possible.
Hoodies for the Homeless — started last year on the mission to use the power of music to bring awareness to homelessness in the city — will launch a public art installation later this week including local street and tattoo artists.
Through the installation, the artists have each designed separate mannequins that will be placed outside lower Manhattan art galleries and tattoo parlors and will spread the mission of the movement while also providing New Yorkers with information on the homeless crisis in the city.
According to the Coalition for the Homeless, more than 60,000 people are in shelters in New York City each night, and more than 23,000 of them are children.
“What the artist did on the mannequin wasn’t so much a concern for me, it was getting a New York artist to do this and their art will draw people to the mannequin and with that will help us raise more of a following to the movement,” said Tavis Sage, founder of Hoodies for the Homeless.
Hoodies for the Homeless was started last year when Sage and his band, PushMethod, decided to do something about an ongoing crisis in New York City by holding clothing drives at concerts to encourage participation from the community and spread awareness of homelessness.
“What we did, we created kind of this platform that makes it fun and easy to help,” Sage said.
During the first show, at which people were given tickets in exchange for donated hoodies, 500 hoodies were collected in just three hours. Since its official launch, around 5,000 hoodies have been distributed through a partnership with the Coalition for the Homeless.
“The most rewarding part of it, is they would put the hoodie on their body right there,” Sage said. “It’s cool to see it going from our hands to their backs.”
During this mannequin installation, which is slated to begin either May 17 or 18, the figures — each representing over 3,333 homeless individuals in the city — will hold up pieces of cardboard with information on Hoodies for the Homeless, including hashtags #HoodiesForTheHomeless and #HaveMyHoodie and a website.
The placards will also inform people of an upcoming concert at the Bowery Ballroom on May 26, featuring Sage’s band and Pants Velour, where attendees are encouraged to drop off donations. The figurines will be on the street until the day before the show.
All 18 mannequins — one of which will be designed by Michael Dustin Youree, who's also a member of PushMethod — will be on stage with the bands on May 26 and each artist will be highlighted.
The group is still deciding whether to auction off the mannequins and then do an entire new run of mannequins. If the figures are auctioned off, proceeds will go toward Hoodies for the Homeless and the artists.
With the movement just a year old, the plans are to empower individuals and organizations to help out on an issue that is not just seen in New York City, but across the country and the rest of the worldd.
“Our goal is for this movement to expand across the country and with the support of influencers like the participating artists and the public at large, we are poised to create a lasting impact for this cause,” Sage said.