A child's illustration of a cityscape.
A child's illustration of a cityscape.

This fall, Children’s Studio School teamed up with Housing On Merit at Fort Chaplin Park to provide after school sessions to young children in the community. Led by artist/educator Courtney Dowe, the sessions were devoted to understanding homelessness and poverty through music, movement, visual and literary art forms.  

Children’s Studio School was founded in 1977 as an experimental full-day school for very young children taught by highly-developed artists/educators. Having lost its home, Studio School has taken its programs “on the Go Go” to children with the greatest needs, wherever they are. Housing on Merit has been hosting Children’s Studio School’s programs. HOM is a nonprofit “co-developer” that aims to “connect vulnerable populations to permanent affordable housing” and “build communities where residents can access support services and growth opportunities,” according to the company’s website. Sixty-nine percent of the housing units at Fort Chaplin Park are designated as affordable.  

Studio School’s programs at HOM have emphasized investigation, experimentation and social consciousness, according to founder/president, Marcia McDonell. This collection of thoughts and creative expressions combines the work of six students, ages 5-11, working with Ms. Dowe.   

If somebody says “you’re homeless,” or laughs at you — just don’t listen to them. Just walk away. 

— Zenay   

I will build you a house. Every day I’ll buy you fresh food. I will buy you anything you want if you don’t have nothing to eat. 

— Jaylan  


When I see a homeless person, I will help. I will give them $1,000,000,000. 



Your heart is money and nobody can take that. 

— Maynard 


Trying to get that grind up. 
Trying to get that mind up. 
Don’t let people take you down. 
Love you all.  

— Raynard  

How do I have no freedom? 
I feel alone. 
My heart is cracked with no freedom. 
The freedom doesn’t remember me. 
I am out of this world. 
I believe in myself. 
To find the freedom I’m always looking for,  
I’m not giving up. 

— Solomon