Library Street Collective is pleased to present the third iteration of Alliance, featuring Jammie Holmes. All of the proceeds raised from the sale of this painting will be donated to the Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based organization that is working to break the generational cycle of homelessness through employment.
“I’m happy to donate to the Empowerment Plan because I want to help with a population that America often forgets about, the homeless. They are human and we as a society don’t value them enough, they deserve more dignity than what we currently give them. When we had the Super Bowl in New Orleans the city ran the homeless community out of many city spaces. If we valued the homeless situation like we value other things in America, like major league sports, we could make a real change. They are human and they deserve more dignity than what we give them.”
— Jammie Holmes
In the years since founding in 2012, Empowerment Plan has evolved from an idea in a college class into an internationally recognized workforce development organization. By pairing full time employment with a wide range of supportive services, they have helped dozens of individuals achieve financial stability and independence for the whole family. Their holistic approach addresses everything from housing and childcare to transportation, education and more.
The Empowerment Plan creates significant economic impact by serving as a stepping stone out of poverty into a state of stability. The core of the work stems from an intensive 2-year employment model focused on providing job readiness training and support services to their workforce. It is because of this model and the strength of those that they employ, that every single person has moved out of the shelter within the first 4-6 weeks of working and no one has returned to homelessness once they’ve hired them.
“To date, we have pulled over 90 families from homelessness and distributed more than 43,000 of our sleeping bag coats to those in need around the globe. As we push forward, we hope to amplify our efforts as a human-centered organization to redefine the social justice ecosystem. Now more than ever, programs like ours are critical in changing the landscape to help marginalized communities gain access to the resources needed to become powerful architects of their future.”
— VERONIKA SCOTT, CEO AND FOUNDER
Jammie Holmes is a self-taught painter from Thibodaux, Louisiana, whose work tells the story of contemporary life for many black families in the Deep South. Through portraiture and tableaux, Holmes depicts stories of the celebrations and struggles of everyday life, with particular attention paid to a profound sense of place. Growing up 20 minutes from the Mississippi River, Holmes was surrounded by the social and economic consequences of America’s dark past, situated within a deep pocket of the Sun Belt, where reminders of slavery exist alongside labor union conflicts that have fluctuated in intensity since the Thibodaux Massacre of 1887. His work is a counterpoint to the romantic mythology of Louisiana as a hub of charming hospitality, an idea that has perpetuated in order to hide the deep scars of poverty and racism that have structured life in the state for centuries.
Despite the circumstances of its setting, Holmes’ work is characterized by the moments he captures where family, ritual and tradition are celebrated. His presentation of simple moments of togetherness and joy within the black population that nurtures the culture of Louisiana has made him an advocate for this community. Holmes’ paintings fall somewhere between realistic depiction and raw abstraction, incorporating text, symbols and objects rendered in an uncut style that mirrors a short transition from memory to canvas. He often references photographs from home, but also draws heavily on his own recollection of moments and scenes and works quickly to translate his emotions to paint.