Last year, artist Lydia Emily came into this despondent neighborhood with paint, a ladder and compassion. Her goal: to bring something beautiful to a neglected corner. It was a seemingly simple good deed, but in Emily's world nothing is simple.
She was accosted and ultimately chased out by homeless people who felt their turf was being exploited by an outsider.
"We were getting grotesque insults thrown at us," says Emily's assistant Lindsay Carron, "And for what? Because we're two white women with paint brushes?"
The threats were violent, but Emily wasn't deterred. She invited the homeless people living on the block to collaborate with her, opened up a conversation with them about what they wanted to see on the wall and, ultimately, the project became a source of pride for the community.