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New Artwork at ARHA Sends a Powerful Message

College student Mark Hess originally started the triptych as a school project.

A new piece of art graces the interior of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority in Old Town.

It’s sure to make visitors think, and think again when walking by it – in the building where administrators busily oversee the city’s public housing.

A pencil triptych shows a disheveled man, lying supine - and perhaps sleeping - in front of a doorway. A hand reaches out toward him, feeding a nearby cat.

The artist is Mark Hess, a college student at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

Hess told Patch at the unveiling of the new ARHA artwork that he was inspired to create it when he saw a homeless person for the first time in Washington, DC, while visiting his aunt Jane Hess Collins of Alexandria.

He explained that there were not homeless people in the small town of Bellefontaine, Ohio, where he grew up

“It was shocking. It was humbling,” he said of the experience in DC. “It made me appreciate what I had, and I decided to make a drawing to make people think about it.”

(Watch the video accompanying this story of Hess talking about what he hopes people experience when viewing the art.)

Hess is undecided about his major in college but believes he will minor in fine art.

Hess said he’s an animal lover, but “people a lot of times give to animals…but sometimes they forget the hungry and homeless - the people.”

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Mitzi Hess January 16, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Amazing! How wonderful it is to see someone so young with so much insight and the talent to express it!
Sharon Gerstenmaier January 16, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Wahoo! Way to go Mark! I loved the art work, I loved the video, but most of all I love that you had something important to say--and you said it! In our world there is so much that is negative, and that negative force is always displaying it's power. The good in this country is everywhere, but it seldom makes a loud statement. You scored one for the good guys of the world. Thanks Aunt Sharon
Sharon Gerstenmaier January 17, 2013 at 05:13 AM
Great job, Mark! Maybe I should get your signature the next time I see you. But no kidding, that was super and we're all very proud of you. Uncle Ken

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