housing insecurity

Visual Response

Mike Wirth

“Havtacha” The Promise

Jewish Street Art Festival Passover 2021 – Contemporary Plagues

The Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte

March 25-May 12

Since the pandemic hit, many shelters in Charlotte, N.C., have had to close. This has forced hundreds of individuals and families to the streets and into a makeshift tent city that runs adjacent to a central highway. Many of these people have endured months of freezing temperatures and winter weather. A concerted effort is underway to assist these people, but still many in the community are unaware or choose to ignore the growing problem, and Mike’s mural is intended to raise awareness of this crisis. The piece is built around the concept of “a promise,” which is at the heart of virtually every system of faith. Spiritual, financial, societal, and interpersonal. The project highlights the struggle that these individuals face on a daily basis brought on the pandemic and other systematic plagues that befall the Queen City.

Dwelling in a Time of Plagues Project Passover 2021 Charlotte Interfaith Project “Havtachah – The Promise” Mural focused on Tent City will have a short tour throughout the Spring at the following dates and locations:

Site #1 – Camp North End (400 Camp Road) – March 28 to April 4
Site #2 – Queens University/Myers Park Baptist Church  – April 4 to April 11
Site #3 – Muslim Community Center of Charlotte – April 11 to April 18
Site #4 – Temple Beth El/Shalom Park – April 18 to April 25
Site #5 – MeckMIN/Park Road Baptist Church – April 25 – May 12

Projection Mapping:
During the course of the tour, Wirth will be projection mapping a series of short looping graphical animations onto his mural wall. Each animation will introduce the harsh conditions such as snow, freezing rain, mud, litter, vermin, and the overall lack of empathy, that have befallen our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness in Charlotte’s tent city. The mural wall will light up at night and extend the experience of the image with motion.

Mike Wirth

Mike Wirth is a street artist, graphic designer, and an associate professor of art based in Charlotte, N.C. His work reflects his blended Jewish upbringing and his experience of adulthood in the American South through pop art-inspired Jewish iconography and typography. Over the past 20 years, Mike’s mural projects, information graphics, illustrations, and museum exhibits have had a notable presence in U.S. cities like Charlotte, Miami, and New York City, and internationally in Croatia, Poland, and Germany. Currently, Mike is a commissioned mural artist, illustrator, and tenured associate professor of graphic design at Queens University of Charlotte. He holds an MFA from Parsons School of Design in Design and Technology and a BFA from Long Island University in Digital Art and Design.

Jewish Street Art Festival Passover 2021 - Contemporary Plagues is produced by Asylum Arts and Hillel Smith, in collaboration with LABA, and made possible with the generous support of CANVAS. Murals have been created in New York City, Charlotte and Toronto. In Toronto, Bareket Kezwer’s mural at the Miles Nadal JCC engage with the plague of binary thinking, and is in partnership with the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. Mike Wirth’s mural in Charlotte at the Queens University of Charlotte in partnership with the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte, makes visible the plague of housing insecurity. Hillel Smith’s paired murals in New York City, at JCC Harlem and Repair the World NYC, engage with food insecurity. Maya Ciarrocchi’s mural at the 14th St Y in New York and the video installtions at ZAZ10TS in explores the plague of grief and loss.

Written Response


Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Please fine the written response “Plague of Housing Insecurity” here

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yankowitzis the President & Dean of the Valley Beit Midrash (a national Jewish pluralistic adult learning & leadership center), the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek (a Jewish social justice organization), the Founder and CEO of Shamayim (a Jewish animal advocacy movement), the Founder and President of YATOM, (the Jewish foster and adoption network), and the author of 21 books on Jewish ethics. Newsweek named Rav Shmuly one of the top 50 rabbis in America and the Forward named him one of the 50 most influential Jews.