Community West Foundation Bringing Complete Series of 'Matthew 25' Sculptures From 'Homeless Jesus' Artist to Cleveland

click to enlarge 'When I Was Sick," to be installed at Lutheran Hospital - TIMOTHY SCHMALZ/COMMUNITY WEST
Timothy Schmalz/Community West
'When I Was Sick," to be installed at Lutheran Hospital

The Community West Foundation, a Westlake-based organization that provides financial support in the region to nonprofits that serve the basic needs (food, shelter, healthcare) of residents, this week announced that it will acquire the five remaining permanent sculptures in artist Timothy Schmalz's 'Matthew 25' collection.

The bronze series, which depicts Jesus based on lines from scripture, includes 'Homeless Jesus,' a temporary version of which has been traveling around Cleveland for years and which last year drew international attention after a Bay Village resident called police believing the statue to be an actual unhoused person sleeping on a bench.

Community West will acquire a permanent version of that sculpture, as well as permanent versions of "When I Was Sick," "When I Was In Prison," "When I Was a Stranger," and "When I was Naked."

The Old Stone Church years ago acquired "When I Was Hungry and Thirsty," which can be seen just off Public Square.

The Bay Village incident motivated Community West to complete the collection and Cleveland will be the only city in the world besides Rome with all six on permanent display.

Saying that, "The artwork had accomplished what great public art should: create dialogue and cause people to see familiar spaces and places in a new light," Community West hopes to "expand this important conversation and dialogue."

The sculptures will arrive at varying points this summer and will all be installed by late September.

The permanent locations for each:

Homeless Jesus - St. Malachi Parish
When I Was Sick - Cleveland Clinic Lutheran Hospital
When I Was in Prison - Bridge CLE (formerly Family Ministry Center)
When I Was a Stranger - The Refugee Response at Urban Community School
When I Was Naked - Malachi House
When I Was Hungry and Thirsty - Old Stone Church

The public art will undoubtedly inspire productive conversations, except in Dona Brady, who will probably call the cops and try to have them removed.