Markus Rowntree is a local artist, born in Orlando and raised in the Netherlands. The time abroad made Mr. Rowntree very aware of the plight of the less fortunate. Upon returning to the United States he decided to move to the downtown area of Orlando. His apartment near the Salvation Army, which doubles as his art studio, led him to want to tell the stories of the homeless men and women he sees outside his window every day. Mr. Rowntree set out to interview as many of the homeless as possible, turning their words into the art that would lead to Street Stories.
Street Stories is Mr. Rowntree’s exhibit which opened on December 15, 2016 at the City Arts Factory located on Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando. “My whole life I was dreaming of a place where I had space to do what I wanted to do”, says Rowntree. The exhibit is a mixture of paintings and visual art that the artist has compiled after talking with the homeless in and around the city. “It turned into stories of the homeless people of Orlando just because I guess those are the people who have real moving stories” said Rowntree. The exhibit which will be on display until January 13, 2017 is a dream come true for the young artist and he plans to continue working with the homeless and even possibly expanding to other cities. He plans to donate some of the proceeds from the potential sales of his artwork to The Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, which is an organization that provides services to men, women, and children around the Central Florida area.