September 7, 2010
Many people avert their eyes when they pass a homeless person.
But Baylor University photographer Susan Mullally's life-sized photo portraits compel viewers to gaze into the faces of people of the streets and consider the personalities beneath the surface.
In her "What I Keep," exhibition and new book by the same name, Mullally, an assistant professor of art at Baylor, showcases individual color photos of poor and unknown people holding their few, but cherished, keepsakes.
On Sunday, Sept. 19, Mission Waco and the Church Under the Bridge will host the educational/prayer Walk for the Homeless, recognizing Mullally's work and those who shared their life stories with her. The 50 images in the book (Baylor University Press, $34.95) include comments from those in the photos, whose guarded treasures range from a toy dog to a tambourine to a dinner plate that is all that remains of one man's family china.
Some of the individuals featured in the book will join participants in the Walk for the Homeless, which will be from 8 to 10:30 a.m., beginning at Meyer Center Community Clinic, 1226 Washington Ave., said Jimmy Dorrell, director of Mission Waco and pastor of the Church Under the Bridge.
The distance is 1.4 miles and will be an opportunity for education, prayer and support, with stops at Caritas, Compassion Ministries, My Brother's Keeper and the Salvation Army.
The event also will include the second annual Shoes for the Homeless before the walk. Individuals may donate a new pair of shoes by contributing $35.
Fifty complimentary copies of Mullally's book, provided by Baylor University Press, will be distributed, and books also will be for sale.
Mission Waco also will collect hygiene items and financial donations for organizations that work among the homeless, Dorrell said.
After the walk, participants are invited to the Church Under the Bridge's 18th anniversary worship service at 10:45 a.m. Speaking will be Dr. Brenda Salter-McNeil of Chicago, a preacher who frequently speaks about racial reconciliation.
The service will be followed by a free barbecue lunch. Participation in the walk also is free.
The church meets beneath Interstate 35 at South Fourth Street, with parking on Fourth and Fifth streets.
Many of those who worship beneath an interstate bridge in Waco, have led "disruptive lives - incarcerations, homelessness, addictions to drugs, bad choices," said Mullally, who worships regularly with the congregation. "I'm interested in people who have had interesting lives and struggles but who have been overlooked. Their accomplishments may not be as obvious."
Mullally's photographic art has been featured in exhibitions at Duke University and Pennsylvania State University.