For over 25 years, Inn from the Cold has been helping vulnerable families find stability in times of crisis. As the largest organization in the Calgary region that is dedicated solely to families experiencing a housing crisis, they believe that a community where no child or family is homeless is possible.
To help bring their vision to life, Inn from the Cold provides three main programs: homelessness prevention and diversion, emergency family shelter, and supportive housing. Trauma-informed and housing-first principles guide everything they do and they strive to adapt programs to meet the unique needs of each family being served.
Recently relocated to downtown Calgary, Inn from the Cold, together with their development partner, Homespace, has transformed an existing office building into Neoma (NEE-owMaa), a family-focused hub which includes an emergency shelter, transitional housing and affordable housing. The name Neoma represents the new moon, new beginnings, and a chance at a new chapter of life for the families that live here.
On behalf of Inn from the Cold, a commissioned art program was conceived, managed and implemented by Entro, with the participation of independent curator Mary-Beth Laviolette. It includes artwork by Sydonne Warren, Anne Ormerod, Jason Carter, Billie Rae Busby, Hali Heavy Shield, Sheila Kernan and Ilse Anysas-Salkauskas. Entro also designed a colourful wayfinding program, which integrates the artwork as part of the signage.
The inclusion of original works of art commissioned for the emergency shelter’s communal spaces and administrative areas creates a sense of place and welcome to the community and the individual, affirmed through the knowledge, creativity and originality of the invited artists. Ranging from painting, digital drawings and works of fibre, the art conveys caring and appreciation, turning the unfamiliar into a place of comfort and inclusiveness with warmth and humanity.
“At Inn from the Cold we believe that art connects us and inspires us. Art speaks to the very young and the very old and transcends language and place. By including works of art into our building we are reinforcing trauma-informed design by turning the unfamiliar into a place of comfort and inclusiveness. The art we have chosen helps us celebrate culture, the natural world and storytelling.”
– Heather Morley, MA (she/her), Executive Director, Inn from the Cold
With many clients having English as a second language, imagery from the art is also used in the wayfinding program for the emergency shelter to help people identify and connect with communal spaces like the dining hall, family lounge, children’s play areas, and youth zone.
Find out more about Inn from the Cold here.