Economy

Touring the U.S., gathering recession stories

Ryan Kroboth, 25, signs 'The Man in The Van Project' along Tryon St. in Charlotte.
Ryan Kroboth, 25, signs 'The Man in The Van Project' along Tryon St. in Charlotte. L. Mueller / Charlotte Observer

The people approach the bright orange van parked on an uptown Charlotte street cautiously, one or two at a time. Aaron Heideman offers them a black permanent marker and a chance to share their feelings about the recession.

“The economic downturn forced me to close my business and re-enter corporate America…but I am choosing not to participate in the recession,” a man in a suit wrote on the side of Heideman's van.

Scrawled another: “I've lost my job, became homeless, been robbed, abused, discriminated, arrested and neglected. There is no compassion in America.”

Heideman, an artist from Oregon, has been traveling the country since June, stopping in 22 cities to collect hundreds of stories for his “The Man in a Van Project.” On Monday, on Tryon Street just south of Fourth, he beckoned people who expressed the slightest eye-twitch of interest and handed out business cards that say “Help a homeless guy make art. History.”

Read the complete story at charlotteobserver.com

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