'Homeless Jesus' statue in Nevada designed to raise awareness, build compassion

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO/Gray News) - An artist is hoping to inspire the community with a new piece of art.

Homeless Jesus statue.

Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz created "Homeless Jesus" to dignify and raise awareness of the homeless in the community.

"It's not even about the homeless, but just finding the good in all of us," said Our Lady of Wisdom committee member Stacy Miller.

That's the hope she wishes to bring to Reno after working to bring the statue to the city.

Jesus is depicted as laying on a bench bundled in a blanket with only his feet exposed.

The artist has more than 30 sculptures, but this is the first one in Nevada, made possible by fundraising efforts and donors.

"In Matthew 25, Jesus says whatever you've done to the least among us you've done to me," said Miller. "So the artist was inspired by that Bible verse and the desire to bring dignity to the homeless, really of the general idea that we all have worth."

"Homeless Jesus" will be housed outside of Our Lady of Wisdom Newman Center near the University of Nevada, Reno.

"If any of these university students pass this sculpture and are moved either to help the homeless situation in our town or consider their faith, then this is a huge success," said Miller.

Miller said it was Schmalz's request to place it in a busy area.

"It was the artist's hope that we all move people to action because homelessness is everywhere. It's here in Reno. People need our help," added Miller. "This raises awareness and makes it relevant to anybody who walks by and sees it."

Father Nathan Mamo is the Parrish priest of Our Lady of Wisdom. He said he wants to challenge and inspire society to be more compassionate and charitable.

"We can't solve it because there is always going to be poverty, but we can make a dent in it and restore the dignity to a lot of people's lives and give them peace, education, whatever it is," said Father Nathan Mamo.

The community is invited to see the unveiling on Sunday at Our Lady of Wisdom.

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