An art exhibit on now at Government House in Fredericton is showcasing works created by the homeless with the help of professional artists.

"Some people are great at words, some people aren't," said Warren Maddox, executive director of Fredericton Homeless Shelters. "And with the arts there are a lot of different ways of developing a voice.

Wooden Shingle murals

Art by residents of Fredericton Homeless Shelters is now on display at Government House. (Oscar Baker III)

"This whole process started with a conversation I had with FAA [Fredericton Arts Alliance]

members back in 2015," he said.

"The concept was to help our residents develop a voice — whether that voice was with words, photos or some other artistic outlet, the intent was to take those who are marginalized by society and give them the ability to say 'I'm here and I matter.'

"This whole project has been more about the process than the product, but boy, did we ever get some wonderful surprises with the talent that is on display."

Side walk photo

One of the photos on display on at the exhibit. The residents were provided with the camera and workshops to develop skill.

The works run from cheerful images of brown-eyed Susans and a duck on the St. John River — to the haunting point-of-view photograph of someone who might be sitting on a Fredericton sidewalk at night.

There are also intricate wooden murals, which wouldn't seem out of place in a local gallery.

The workshops provided shelter residents with materials they normally couldn't afford like digital cameras, wooden shingles, and framing materials.

The shelter and the arts alliance are hoping to expand the workshops and provide residents with more mediums from which to choose.

Bruce Gray

Bruce Gray was an instructor for the wood murals and hopes the project can expand in the future. (CBC)

One instructor, Bruce Gray, was grateful to teach the students about wooden art murals but is hoping to watch the projects grow.

"This is the second year of the effort in terms of working with the shelter and the art project. Next year we're hoping to have it as a continual, annual occurrence, and were only on the early part of the cycle, we're hoping this will be long term," said Gray.

"What the reward is, I don't think most people realize teaching a workshop is valuable for the participants but the instructors as well," said Gray.

The exhibit is currently on display in the basement gallery at Government House until Nov. 9 and is open to the public.