In May of 2003, the phone rang. It was Bob Young, then chair of Woodstock’s Town Board-appointed, affordable housing committee. “Would RUPCO please come to Woodstock to build affordable housing,” asked Mr. Young? “We’ve been trying for the better part of three decades and we can’t get it done.” RUPCO answered the call and launched ten-year saga that ended in May of 2013 when we proudly cut the ribbon on Woodstock Commons.
“Give Housing a Voice” depicts a small town meeting in Woodstock where citizens gathered to address the entitlement process for Woodstock Commons, an innovative, intergenerational campus of 53 affordable homes for seniors, working families and artists. The painting features Tamara Cooper, who on several occasions throughout the prolonged process, spoke eloquently from her heart about how and why affordable housing impacted her life. Tamara is surrounded by many of the folks who also spoke in support of affordable housing and talked about why home matters!
To commemorate the steadfastness of those determined to bring needed homes to their town, RUPCO commissioned this oil painting by Stephen Hargash in 2014. Hargash compiled photographs over the span of one year to create the portraiture shared here. The painting measures 4 feet high by 8 feet wide; a replica hangs in the Woodstock Commons Community Room.