The Intersection of Art, Poverty, Activism as printed in Street Sense

A special event took place Monday March 21, 2016 at the McKinley Building on American University’s campus. This semester, a media marketing class had been split into teams and partnered with several local nonprofit organizations to help promote their respective work in the community. On Monday, the team paired with Street Sense showcased the work of Street Sense vendor/artist photographers like me. This was one of several events that will lead up to our annual fundraising extravaganza.

The extravaganza will feature all multimedia components of Street Sense: such as film, illustration, theater and more.

Many thanks to our team, consisting of Assistant Professor Gemma Puglisi and student hosts Roslyn Glover, Maggie Maloney, Daniel Braxton-Marks and Erica Weinstein.

The students also engaged local eateries Angelico’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, CAVA, Pete’s Pizza and Sugar Shack to put on an alluring spread large enough to fill the house — if not the attendees!

Street Sense was represented by a panel that included Filmmakers Co-op facilitator and AU Alumnus Bryan Bello, Vendor/Artist/Activist Robert Warren and myself, “Hat Man” Ken Martin. (Find out more about my hat business at

Each panelist spoke about their introduction to Street Sense, what we have gained from the experience and how Art, in its many forms, and AU Students can aid the impoverished.

The overall consensus from my vantage point was: by accepting that none of us is exempt from hardship; becoming involved; engaging our neighbors; and providing empowerment by acknowledgement, inclusion and encouragement to our fellow citizens — this intersection (of art and poverty) does not lead to a dead end street.