Make Room Commissions 11 Artists from across America for World-Class Art Exhibition About the Rental Housing Crisis


“The Doors of Make Room” represents 11 million households living one paycheck away from eviction

July 31, 2018 – Washington, DC – Make Room, Inc. is using the universal language of art to create a bold statement about the 25 million Americans forced to pay more than 50% of their income on rent with a world-class art exhibition called “The Doors of Make Room.”

The nation’s leading organization working to end the rental housing crisis partnered with The Clyde Fitch Report to commission 11 artists from across the country to present a one-of-a-kind fiberglass public art project, unlike anything DC has seen in well over a decade. The 11 fiberglass doors will be showcased in 11 different public and private spaces and high tourist and/or traffic locations in Washington, DC from September 13-28, during National Month for Renters.

While the 2004 “PandaMania” exhibition that adorned the city was purely for the amusement of city dwellers and visitors, “The Doors of Make Room” is aimed at leading a thought-provoking conversation about the affordable housing crisis with the 11 doors representing 11 million households living one paycheck away from losing their home.

“The artists will undoubtedly create beautiful pieces that will reveal stories often hidden behind closed doors,” Make Room President and CEO, Ali Solis, said. “The exhibition is intended to raise eyebrows, spark national interest among policymakers and the media, and elevate affordable housing on the national agenda, so that every American has access to a safe and affordable home.”

The 11 artists represent a multicultural group from rural communities, and suburban and metropolitan areas in some of the most highly ranked rent burdened states in the country such as NY (#1), FL (#), NJ (#6), GA (#12), MD (#17), and DC (#27), to name a few. These are real artists, with real stories, and a real connection to the housing affordability crisis in this nation.

Below is a list of all 11 artists, where they’re from, and a brief description of their background.

“The Doors of Make Room” artists, in alphabetical order:

  1. Cathy Abramson, Chevy Chase, MD – Abramson has spent most of her career working as Art Director for NOVA Research Company where she designed publications and exhibits for NIH. She’s been exhibiting in solo and juried shows throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region for the past 25 years and has work in many public and private collections.
  1. Charis Ammon, Houston, TX – Ammon is a painter and fabricator known for her exploration of indirect and implied narrative, detail-oriented craftsmanship, and upbeat work ethic. While her primary medium is oil painting, she has also worked as a museum fabricator and as a custom furniture builder.
  1. Hermes Berrio, Miami, FL – Berrio’s artwork is a powerful restructuring of urban emotion that transforms canvas into eye candy. His stylized creations alter ideas, redistribute meaning, and mutate concepts to the point of unrecognizable perfection! Growing up in Colombia and studying in NYC, Berrio’s fearless irreverence and untamed imagination has captured the attention of collectors, galleries, and the South American office of Christie’s Auction House where he was featured.
  1. Angela Faz, Dallas, TX – Faz is a printmaker and digital media artist. Her work explores themes of gender, culture identity and inspired by social justice movements. Her work has been featured by KERA, D Magazine, The Texas Standard, and others. In 2016, she was selected for two juried exhibitions, Hecho En Dallas and the 4th National Monotype Juried Exhibition at Attleboro Arts Museum in Massachusetts. 
  1. Lola Lovenotes, Bronx, NY – Lola Lovenotes (born Victoria DeJesus) is a visual artist whose alias formed at a young age through her submergence in Bronx Graffiti culture. Heavily influenced by anime, comic books, youth, street art, nature and fairytales, Lovenotes strives to create artworks that are charged with her emotional and spiritual vision of the world usually involving feminine figures. 
  1. Amol Saraf, Johns Creek, GA – Born in Jalgaon, India, Saraf feels that his mission as an artist is enhancing the beauty of the world by creating exclusive, sustainable and eco-friendly works of art for the compassionate art loving community across various cultures around the globe. He is strongly inspired by Meditation, spirituality and The Nature and believes in creating artwork that is soothing, refreshing and positive.
  1. Gwenn Seemel, Surf City, NJ – Named after the Liberty Bell, Gwenn Liberty Seemel has made her living as an independent artist since 2003. Her work focuses on questions of identity and belonging, often expressed through portraits.
  1. Shani Shih, Washington, DC – Shih is a community advocate and multidisciplinary visual artist, who is dedicated to supporting communities in need through teaching and community arts, with a focus on serving underrepresented local Asian Pacific American communities. Her artwork features bold linework, gritty textures, and expressive human figures intertwined with harsh industrial structures. Along with her arts practice, she works as a tenant organizer and supports efforts to prevent displacement and preserve affordable housing, especially in DC’s highly gentrified Chinatown.
  1. Rachel Sousa, Brooklyn, NY – Sousa’s work is inspired by nature, the dynamic synergy of abstract art, Transcendetalism, Native Pacific Northwestern Indian carvings, Pop Art, and Portuguese Azulejos. Her use of line and shape evoke organic, architectural and typographic structures. Her creations echo the beauty and resilience of nature and remind the viewer of their own connection to the natural world.
  1. Kim Testone, Syracuse, NY – A former art magazine editor, writer and theme park caricature artist, Kim Testone decided to focus on improving her own painting skills after several years of interviewing many of the country’s best artists. Today, she paints full-time, using a highly detailed approach to realism with paintings that seek to connect the viewer to nostalgic memories from childhood, including toys, games and food.
  1. ZYNB, Owasso, Oklahoma – ZYNB (born Ghazal Ghazi) is a transcontinental Iranian-American muralist, illustrator, painter, and poet who has lived in South America, the Middle East, and North America. Her work embodies a point of convergence between three continents and multiple visual languages, guided by a dedication to exploring the commonalities between marginalized communities and honoring ancestral knowledge.

The commissioned artists will be available for interview by phone, upon request, and in person at Artist & Makers Studios 2 in Rockville, MD from Aug. 11-13 when they take over The Hirsh Studio Classroom to paint their doors. All on-site interviews must be scheduled in advance.


About Make Room, Inc.

Make Room, the nation’s leading organization working to address the rental housing crisis in America, gives voice to struggling renters and seeks to elevate affordable rental housing on the national agenda. We’re advocating for better policies and telling the stories of real families who can’t make rent today. Make Room’s goal is to engage 1 million renters on our online platform to send 1 million messages to elected officials by 2020. Home, Health and Finance is one way of reaching that goal while providing renters with needed resources aimed at improving their circumstances.


About The Clyde Fitch Report

Arts and politics are wedded ideas indispensable to the fabric and soul of society. For this reason, The Clyde Fitch Report will act as the nexus of arts and politics. It will serve as a marketplace to challenge and to debate; to interweave openness with obstreperousness; to be a forum where representatives of artistic disciplines and a range of political beliefs may engage and argue, teach and learn, discover their commonalities, and, if possible, demolish their differences.


About Artists & Makers

With two locations–12276 Wilkins Avenue and 11810 Parklawn Drive in Rockville, MD–and over 36,000 square feet of space, Artists & Makers Studios provides a supportive and vibrant environment for artists to realize their creative goals–through studio practice, education, and opportunities for networking and collaboration among themselves and with the community beyond.


Also, please visit or follow on Facebook/MakeRoomUSA, Twitter @MakeRoomUSA, and Instagram/MakeRoomUSA.


Media Contact:
Zayda Rivera at 347-949-3365,