Current Featured Artists for January - March
Emmanuel A. Havens
Former Resident, Art Program Participant
I started sketching and doodling super hero cartoons at age 8 as a way to transport myself away from an abusive environment and the North Philly neighborhood I grew up in. I was a “strange introverted guy” to my peers because I did not share their enthusiasm of “gang fights,” drinking, and hanging out on corners singing “doo-wop” music.
When my parents finally separated, I returned from North Carolina after living with some Quakers that I had met upon my “running away from home”. Dan and Nancy Duryea, affiliates of the Friends, taught me for 2 ½ years responsibility, love, and other necessary tools of life for self and others. While attending Parkway Program High School, the first free school in Philadelphia, I did some drafting with Edward Swenson of Philadelphia Planning Commission. At age 17, I acquired a partial art Scholarship and attended Moore College of Art as one of the first males to be welcomed to the all female school.
I continued to involve myself with learning history and theory until I married at age 19. It ended because of cultural differences and other mutually agreeable interests.
I became homeless and drug involved after leaving my family of 2 sons and wife to allow them a home and freedom to go on without hindering their progress.
Prison also ensued, where I must have done art work for every security officer in every prison I was incarcerated in.
Upon my release after 14 years of “doing time”, I remained homeless and drug involved until I awakened to find pain at every turn. I discovered Project HOME by way of despair and fortunately the person that opened the door at St. Elizabeth’s Recovery House was a gentleman named “Ron” who happened to be a cellmate 3 ½ years prior.
From that moment on, I got well and continued over the past 13 ½ years to remain well. I’ve been involved in over 13 art exhibits, 4 solo shows, and received an Honorable Mention Award from the Honickman Foundation via PAFA on October 22, 1999, for a piece I did entitled “Prison Love.” I was originally not satisfied with the piece and discarded it, but Robert Bullock from Coalition Ingenu, found merit in it, framed it, and displayed it at Armory Exhibit in 1999.
I discovered being appreciated, and I am continually grateful. I am fulfilled because I discovered that it is nice being appreciated but better to be sober. I hope my art interests you because now all people interest me.
Selections from Emmanuel's Work