‘Evicted’ – Heavy, But Essential

3 mins read

“There’s a knock on the door. Whether or not the belongings are packed, the kids are ready or the new plan is put in place, it no long matters. The eviction has begun: It’s time to leave.”

With these beginning words, the exhibition “Evicted” invites viewers to step into the reality of nearly 3 million Americans each year.

On view at the Kansas City Central Library through July 17, “Evicted” is heavy, but essential in opening our ears and eyes to the experience of those who our housing insecure (Proverbs 21:13, 29:7).

2016 data collected on evictions in each state.

A temporary wall in the library’s Kirk Hall shows evictions in each state from data collected in 2016. But eviction is not just a generalized problem. It’s a reality in KC.

More than 10,000 tenants have been hit with eviction filings in Kansas City the past two years – with many more forced to move in actions outside the courts. The challenge of keeping up with the rising costs of food, fuel and other consumables is only intensifying.

Videos, photos and structures help tell the story.  

A pallet of household goods typifies the personal effects removed from a home during eviction and piled ignominiously on the lawn or side of the street.

Four different living spaces are discombobulated – walls not extending floor to ceiling, wallpaper and outlets on the outside rather than the inside – suggesting the disruptive impact of eviction or even its prospect.

Infographics spell out the scope of what many see as a growing social scourge.

It’s not an easy exhibition to take in. But it’s also not easy to live through an eviction. So, the discomfort seems appropriate. And hope comes at the finish of the exhibition where visitors can leave sticky notes with thoughts and encouragement for those who are struggling to make it through. There are also resources available to those who need them.

“Evicted,” produced by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., is inspired by Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.”

Central Library is located at 14 W 10th St, Kansas City, MO 64105.

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