The Identity Project

Artist’s Statement

The social issue that we chose to bring to light is homelessness and poverty. These people on the sides of roads and under the freeways often get overlooked. More often than not, they are past by without a glance. We try to pretend these homeless people don’t exist because it makes us uncomfortable. These beings underneath the overpass are often seen as objects of dismay, sub-human, and other characterizations. We’ve established The Identity Project.  These people have names.


Our concept speaks for itself. Seeing the first name of each individual on their cardboard signs will emotionally invest each person that sees our project. By taking each one of these homeless people and giving them an identity we start to break the social barrier. They become people.  After seeing our project consisting of 8-10 people, each on 24×24 vinyl with names to match the faces, it would be impossible to walk past and not be affected. After walking past the Identity Project, people will see homeless people on the side of the road differently, thinking “I wonder what their name is.” This is what we wanted to accomplish. We want people to think, and invest emotions into places they hadn’t before.

-Matt Olson, Austin Vanderwel, Allysa Figueroa, Menbere Mulate

The Identity Project Poster

Budget and Installation Guidelines

-We would also like to give our thoughts and love to the wonderful people at Mary’s Place. They are a day center located in Seattle that give the gift of love and helping women of all ages as well as their children. They are part of our inspiration to help create public awareness to the identities of these great people. You can visit their website here:


4 responses to “The Identity Project

  1. This is a wonderful idea and as the founder of a non-profit helping the homeless and needy I applaud not only your altruism but your creative ingenuity in making a positive impact! BRAVO!!

  2. This is a great idea! The poster is very well designed. I hope you follow up on this idea beyond UW Bothell.

    Just FYI, your link to Mary’s Place is broken. I think you’re missing an s after Mary.

    • Thank you, Doug! When we were brainstorming, the concept of this project came all at once and we knew we were on to a great idea that should be implemented. Thanks for the info on our link.

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