One man is working tirelessly to offer hope to those who have none.
“The piece has to talk to you. It has to say what it wants to be. Then you find one piece that brings everything together.” As he continues to describe his process for gathering objects, Michael’s eyes twinkle. His found object art wins awards at local community art contests. He’s proud of the work he does: finding objects tossed to the wayside and reforming them into something meaningful.
Michael’s art imitates his own life.
Fifteen months ago, Michael was released from prison. He bought a sleeping bag and some clothes to have something to his name for the first time in 15 years. Then he spent his first night of freedom on the side of the road.
After his first night on the roadside, Michael spent the next few months living on the street, striving to have a new life. Due to the smog in the valley, Michael came down with a nasty sinus infection and began searching for healthcare resources.
That’s when he found Fourth Street Clinic.
“I had an appointment with Jamie — one thing about Jamie is every time I came in it felt like she was waiting just to see me. She had hundreds of clients, but she’d walk in the room and say ‘Oh I’m so glad to see you!’ And when you’re homeless that is incredible to hear — that someone really cares about you. She got me the medication I needed to knock the infection out and improve my breathing,” Michael says with a look of gratitude.
“There’s often a lot of anger coming from homeless individuals – anger born from no hope. We need to figure out how to get these people back into a balanced life; to give them enough trust in a future.”
Because of Fourth Street Clinic, Michael receives treatment for problems he couldn’t take care of while in prison. As a result, he walks in to Fourth Street Clinic today to donate and is also doing his part to help other people get back on their feet.
Michael is an active member of the Utah Prisoner Advocate Network, a committee member to provide the state Board of Pardons information to improve the corrections process, and volunteers at a local low-income residency building, He does this because Michael wants to help others take advantage of resources to have a balanced life.
“I’ve gotten a lot of good out of this. I am stable. I’m the guest advocate at the Rio Grande Hotel, and help guests with problems. Money problems, health problems; I try to give them resources they can take advantage of. There’s often a lot of anger coming out from [homeless individuals] – anger born from no hope. We need to figure out how to get these people back into a balanced life, to give them enough trust in a future.”
Santa Asustada de Los Clavos,
object art by Michael McAinsh