My name is Johnna Crider
and I am an artist from Shreveport, LA. I moved to Atlanta in 2005 and discovered my dream of helping the homeless through art. It took a few years but I, along with several supporters started a nonprofit organization called Art4TheHomeless. One of those supporters is married to a guitar player who also wire wraps jewelry as a side business. He taught the skills of wire working.
The nonprofit is my dream of opening up an art gallery that will host several events to raise funds for different homeless relief organizations throughout the US. I am a survivor of homelessness—have been homeless on and off since I was nine years old.
As of right now, I am living with a distant cousin who is also a good friend, in Dallas, TX and am currently unemployed. I became homeless in Atlanta because my job cut back my hours to the point I could not afford to pay my rent. Of course, when my boss found out about my situation and my decision to move, he made sure I had some traveling funds and was very supportive of my decision. Starting today, 15% of all my jewelry sales will go toward the nonprofit, Art4TheHomeless. Art4TH also has an online print gallery that sales art prints for $1 each—once they are purchased we email them to the buyer.
I started out as an artist in Shreveport, LA. I would attend Trapped Truth meetings, volunteer time with the Shreveport Regional Arts Council and when I moved to the Atlanta area, I signed up for Job Corps isn 2005. I was accepted into the Brunswick Job Corps Center where I made the front page of The Brunswick News (September 20, 2006) for my dreams of Art4TheHomeless. After graduating and transferring back to Atlanta in 2007, I managed to take my mother in off the streets (she’d become homeless due to being disabled and fighting for three years to get her disability)
I made the decision in 2008 to become serious about Art4TH. In 2009, I incorporated Art4TheHomeless as a corporation and was discovered by Czar Darius Adrik Salvo I who, to help me get the word out about my dream, honored me with the title of Dame/Knight in the Imperial Chivalric Order of Kinds of the Imperial Sovereign House of Kings.
I started wire-wrapping in 2010, when my mother’s health started failing. We were constantly in and out of hospitals and I realized that in order to keep from going insane, I need to be creative. It was kind of hard to pack up paints and an easel into an ambulance. Yeah, I often found myself in the front seat of an ambulance on a monthly basis and it got to where the paramedics would remember me—in Atlanta, a huge city.
Daryl Thompson, who also won a Grammy with the Black Uhuru, is my mentor and was the artist who taught me how to wire wrap. He kept me from going insane.
My mother died on Labor Day, 2011. The day before her death, Hart Deer, huge supporter of Art4TH, current Chair of the Board and former CEO, and I were working with the IRS on our status for 501(C)3. That night I got the phone call. My job I held for over 3 years—same job that cut my hours—was beyond supportive. My coworkers made sure I got to hospice in time. My boss paid for the trip to Louisiana to scatter my mom’s ashes, and made sure that during the time of her hospice stay, I had my 40 hours squeezed into three days so I could spend the rest of the week living at the hospice.
My birthday, which was 11/04/11 was just one day shy of the two month anniversary of my mother’s death. I didn’t find out until 11/11/11, a date in which those numbers follow me, that the IRS approved our application for 501(C)3. When I got the letter, I noticed the envelope was stuffed—letters from the IRS had been because they wanted more info. When I actually opened it, this guide-book on how to manage your nonprofit fell out and I pulled out the letter. The first thing I noticed was the date stamped on the letter: 11/04/11 and just kinda stared. Then, of course, I read the letter and went into a state of shock then started screaming. I remember promising my mother that when we did get approved, she would be the first to know.
A few months into 2012, I again was honored but this time by Prince Hans Maximas Cabrera Lochaber Rurikovich of the Imperial House of Rurikovich and the International Council Grand Master of the Imperial Order of Truth with the status and dignity of Dame of Honor. Right after this Art4TheHomeless had some really awesome events in Atlanta and was the first to bring World Homeless Action Day, an international event that held on the 10th of October of every year, to Atlanta.
I rarely have the time to paint now, but miss it so. My life is currently filled with blogging, wire wrapping, learning about new minerals and gemstones and Art4TheHomeless as well as my cousin and her beautiful children who I adore. My cousin is pregnant with her third child and we are super excited (we being her husband, parents, and the rest of the family and I) that the new baby is coming soon. I’ve stated before that I am unemployed but I do work part-time for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program and am dependent on my jewelry sales, which have been flowing in a lot lately and for that, I am grateful.
I invite you to visit Art4TheHomeless as well as check out my jewelry designs. You can do both by visiting my