Pop-Up ‘Look Me In The Eyes’ Art Exhibition Demystifies The Experience Of Homelessness


 | April 23, 2024

SANTA CRUZ, CA — April 23, 2023 — Housing Matters announced today a pop up art exhibition and sale in collaboration with the organization’s Artist-In-Residence, Abi Mustapha, at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) during First Friday on May 3.

Mustapha curated a partnership between people with lived experience of homelessness and local artists. Through their respective mediums, each artist portrays the unarmed truth of our shared humanity. This exhibition challenges preconceived notions of unhoused identity, symbolically breaking down barriers of thought that separate us from each other.

The selected artworks will be displayed at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) in Downtown Santa Cruz as part of First Friday, 5-9 p.m. on May 3. The works will be available for sale during the one-night-only show.

“We’re excited to create an impactful visual narrative and to call the community to action in support of our unhoused neighbors leading up to the second annual March to End Homelessness on May 18th,” said Mer Stafford, Housing Matters Chief Impact Officer.

The artists and the lived experience participants will be in attendance at the show to discuss their work and augment the story behind each portrait. The artwork will be available for purchase and the proceeds of each sale will be split equally between the artist and Housing Matters.

“I am honored to share these powerful works that bridge awareness to our larger community about the experiences of our unhoused neighbors,” said Mustapha, who has been producing and facilitating community-centered projects meant to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness and humanizing the people experiencing it during her year-long artist residency at Housing Matters.

The popup art show and sale is free to attend. 

About Housing Matters

Housing Matters partners with individuals and families to create pathways out of their homelessness into permanent housing. Housing Matters offers housing support services and case management as well as emergency shelter and direct services — including hot showers, public bathrooms, and a mailroom — to people experiencing homelessness. Our campus shares space with the County-operated healthcare clinic Homeless Persons Health Project and Dientes, a full-service nonprofit dental clinic, making these services easily accessible to Housing Matters’ guests and the community. Our case management and housing navigation services help end homelessness for hundreds of individuals and their families every year. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

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