The District Alliance for Safe Housing was founded in 2006 in Washington, DC to provide relief to survivors of domestic and sexual violence through emergency and long-term safe housing, and innovative homelessness prevention services. In less than four years, DASH has helped to transform how safe housing is operated and accessed throughout the District, and has grown to become the city’s largest dedicated housing provider for victims of violence and their children.
The Art Connection in the Capital Region worked in partnership with DASH to place several pieces of artwork in their recently renovated facility. In an interview with Peggy Hacskaylo, DASH’s Executive Director, we asked her to share some of the details surrounding how the artwork was selected and the impact the donated artwork is having on the families, children and staff members who have the opportunity to experience it every day.
ACCR: Did DASH establish a committee to select the work, and if so, were there any stories of interest surrounding this process?
Peggy: Our staff initially culled through the art on the CD provided and picked out a number of pieces that appealed to them. We then showed them to some of our volunteers and residents to get their input – the pieces that we selected were the ones everyone agreed were the most suitable to DASH.
ACCR: Why did you choose the work that you did?
Peggy: We were looking for art which was uplifting, conveyed a sense of peace and serenity, and which would make the space where it is displayed feel warm and comforting. I think all of the pieces selected illustrate DASH’s values of safety and empowerment.
ACCR: Where will the donated artwork be displayed?
Peggy: The work will be displayed in the community room here at our Cornerstone Residence. This is the space where we hold meetings with our resident families, have parties for the children, trainings and groups with our volunteers, and other gatherings for the DASH community. It’s an inviting space and the artwork will make it exponentially so.
ACCR: How has this donation to DASH impacted the center, the clients, etc.?
Peggy: Having this support from the Art Connection means so much to us here at DASH. It is an acknowledgment of the need for a safe and nurturing sanctuary away from the chaos of domestic violence. It recognizes that families in crisis, even those with limited resources, deserve to have access to a rich and beautiful setting in which to heal and move on with their lives. Everyone here speaks of the artwork so admiringly, it will clearly have an enduring impact on our ability to help survivors recover from abuse.
Images (top to bottom) Holfiday, Untitled/Female; Kristy Withers, Gorgeous in Green; Downe Burns, Love for Gold, #24