Art and Social Work: MSW alumna collaborates on comic to chronicle real lives of Mainers on the street

If you follow our blog, you’re likely already familiar with MSW alumni Katy Finch ’18. Katy was featured on our Blog back in May 2019 in our post, How to Use Art in Social Work Practice. She not only came through our program as an Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate student, but she then worked with UNE Communications to develop a comic about her experiences in the program. You can download the comic below:

AASJ comic cover, designed by Katy Finch MSW ’18

Unique among social work programs, our Applied Arts and Social Justice (AASJ) Certificate lets students design a course of study that puts the creative process front and center of their MSW pursuits.  Students work with real people in real need, where the love of creativity combines with our rigorous social work curriculum to promote real change.

As a student in the program, Katy began a comic zine with co-author, Bob Bergeron, whom she met while interning at Preble Street. The zine is titled ‘The Pirate Ship’ and chronicles the lives of marginalized people living on Portland’s streets, shelters and wooded border zones.

The two were recently featured in the Bangor Daily News and described as an unlikely pair. BDN reporter, Troy Bennett, writes: “Finch is a social worker. She’s small, blonde and has an engaging smile, though her words are measured and chosen with care. Bergeron is a bear of a man, with a snow white beard, a graveled voice and the tanned skin of someone who spends his days outside.”

Bergeron is no stranger to the streets of Porttland. He has spent the last 20 years sometimes housed and sober, but other times drinking and sleeping outside. BDN reports he’s currently trying to get a room at the YMCA for the winter (largely inspired by a drive to keep up with the zine). Despite their perhaps being an improbable pair, the two continue to chronicle these Portland lives with a vibrant authenticity that is insightful and compassionate. They’ve just published their 6th issue and aim to continue production for the foreseeable future.

To learn more about the zine, the artists, and how to the two came together, read the original article here:

The unlikely pair behind the comic chronicling the real lives of Mainers on the street