A short documentary film about homelessness in interior Alaska through the life of Felicia Cavanaugh, a homeless woman who lives at the Fairbanks Rescue Mission and her journey of recovery from addiction.
Homelessness in the Interior
Homelessness may not be a new issue but homelessness in the Arctic is an often misunderstood, complex and growing problem that deserves to be explored in depth. Living in Alaska, particularly in the interior, we all face daily challenges throughout the winter due to extreme weather. We bundle up, we plug in our cars and when the temperatures drop below -40F many of us just stay indoors. But, what if you don’t have a warm place to stay at night when the temperatures drop below zero in a Fairbanks winter? What if you can’t afford the appropriate gear to keep yourself warm outside? What if your primary mode of transportation is the bus or walking in a city that’s not at all catered to public transportation or pedestrians?
Alaska is the 4th most expensive state to live in the country. And, the further into the interior and North in the state you live, the higher the costs of living are. As of last summer, Alaska's unemployment rate is now the highest in the country. In April, New Mexico was the only other state that had a higher unemployment rate than Alaska.
Almost 8 out of 10 American workers say they live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. With so many of us delicately balancing our financial stability, many Americans are just a few missed paychecks from being homeless themselves. Homelessness is not this faceless issue, it is your neighbor who just lost their job and can't make their rent this month, it is your mother who was just diagnosed with cancer and is struggling to afford treatment, it is your friend at school who just had a new baby is having a hard time keeping up with work, school and the bills. This is a reality Felicia Cavanaugh knows all too well.
The project I am working on gives insight into the obstacles people like Felicia Cavanaugh face every single day to try and overcome their circumstances.
The short documentary film will premiere on Friday, December 6th December 2019 at 7pm at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art and accompany the photography exhibition on display. Showings of the film will available in the gallery through Friday, December 20th 2019.
An solo exhibition of images documenting Felicia Cavanaugh’s life will be on display at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, AK from Friday, December 6th through Friday, December 20th 2019. The show opens on Friday, December 6th 2019 from 5pm-8pm with the premiere of the documentary film at 7pm in the gallery.
The photography exhibition will also be traveling to Fairbanks, AK in 2020 to Bear Gallery.