Ozarks Life: Springfield artist painting to help the homeless

Pam Vowell has a series of seven portraits called “Home?”
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 5:27 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Ozarks is full of beauty. But a true artist can find inspiration, anywhere.

“In that awkward moment at the corner of a traffic light,” Vowell said, “a homeless person is standing there and one doesn’t know what to do.”

“Does it hinder if you give,” Vowell asked? “And I don’t know what to do. I just know how to paint.”

Pam Vowell has been a professional artist for 30-years. Now in retirement, she wants to use her talent to help the homeless in Springfield.

“I think of them every day,” Vowell said.

Pam walked up and sat down with many around the Queen City and listened.

“The stories they tell,” Vowell said shaking her head. “One fella in particular, he lost his wife and his kids in his apartment and everything. He told me a story. And he didn’t have to do that.”

After getting their permission, Pam gave them a voice through her paint. The weathered eyes of one man closely resemble those of hope from a woman.

“They’re remarkable,” Vowell said. “I would be in more than a bad mood, given that situation. And they are accommodating.”

She is painting a series called “Home?” that will feature seven portraits of area homeless people.

“I know where home is,” Vowell said, “I love my home, the security of it. And yes, I worked for it. But these people did too. Just (the breeze of) a feather could make the difference between where they were working hard and then it’s all gone. And then they’re homeless. It it’s heartbreaking.”

Hidden in each painting is the title of her series. It’s an interactive piece of art Pam says, and a reflection of the journey all of her subjects are on. Like them, you look for home.

“Do you see what I see,” Vowell asks.

But now Pam is at a crossroads. What to do with these pieces of art?

She doesn’t want a penny. Pam only wants these portraits to raise money to help the homeless in our area.

But like her subjects, she doesn’t know who to contact, or where to go. She does hope though it catches on in our area.

“I hope that other artists in other towns go and talk to the homeless people; look them in the eye longer than that awkward glance at a traffic light,” Vowell said. “Talk to them and paint. Paint them. I mean, look at them longer. This is a person.”

If you have an idea of how you can help Pam and her paintings, you can email her at artforgood61@yahoo.com

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks says there are 588 people in our area who are homeless. It adds 82 more people at risk of becoming homeless.

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