The project “From the streets to the heart,” created by artist Ernst Coppejans, is a documentary portrait series focusing on homeless LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults in New York City. The powerful visual, textual and auditory narrative showcases the resilience, courage, and beauty of those who have been marginalized and made invisible by society.

The project seeks to raise awareness about homelessness among LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults in the city. Every day, hundreds of homeless LGBTQIA+ individuals face discrimination, abuse, and abandonment as they struggle to survive. The portraits, shot by Coppejans in the streets of New York City, are the centerpiece of this project.

With the city serving as a backdrop, the focus is on the person, who is captured in all their humanity, dignity, and grace. Showcasing their inner beauty, despite the hardships they endure. The project offers a comprehensive understanding of the experiences of the portrayed, and allows the world to understand the challenges they face on a daily basis. In today’s critical period, marked by unprecedented legislative threats to LGBTQIA+ rights, the project serves as a powerful call to action, demanding attention to the urgent need for positive change.

For more information, visit

Artist Bios

  • Ernst Coppejans

    Ernst Coppejans is an artist and photographer dedicated to shedding light on societal complexities through his lens. As a gay man, his work reflects personal resonance, capturing the beauty and diversity of our world while addressing discrimination and prejudice. His portraits radiate authenticity, sparking empathetic conversations and inspiring positive change. With a talent for storytelling, Coppejans aims to challenge norms and advocate for marginalized communities through the power of imagery.


  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

  • Dutch Culture USA

    Dutch Culture USA

    Dutch arts, culture, and shared cultural heritage are represented in the U.S. through the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Washington, DC, and the Consulates General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. The headquarters for cultural services is the Press and Cultural Affairs Department of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York. Monique Ruhe, Cultural Attaché for the Netherlands to the U.S., heads this department, which further consists of Robert Kloos, Deputy Head and responsible for Visual Arts, Architecture and Design; Noah Waxman, Senior Policy Officer and responsible for performing arts, film, literature; and Shomara Roosblad, Senior Cultural Officer and responsible for shared cultural heritage and old masters.

    FUTURE 400, a 2024/2025 initiative of the Netherlands Consulate General in New York, endeavors to honor 400 years of Dutch-New York history with honesty and integrity, creating space for others who share this common heritage to voice their feelings and experiences at this monumental moment. Partners from cultural to commercial fields, from the New York area to the Netherlands will come together to create new work and new opportunities that will continue to write the next chapter of our shared story, our collective…FUTURE 400. More information:

  • NYC Parks

    NYC Parks

    NYC Parks is the steward of more than 30,000 acres of land — 14 percent of New York City — including more than 5,000 individual properties ranging from Coney Island Beach and Central Park to community gardens  and Greenstreets. We operate more than 800 athletic fields and nearly 1,000 playgrounds, 1,800 basketball courts, 550 tennis courts, 65 public pools, 51 recreational facilities, 15 nature centers, 14 golf courses, and 14 miles of beaches. We care for 1,200 monuments and 23 historic house museums. We look after 600,000 street trees, and two million more in parks. We are New York City’s principal providers of recreational and athletic facilities and programs. We are home to free concerts, world-class sports events, and cultural festivals.

From the Streets to the Heart

 coming soon

Featuring: Ernst Coppejans

Presented by: Photoville, with additional support by Dutch Culture USA's Future 400 Initiative
  • Photoville
  • Dutch Culture USA
  • NYC Parks


View Location Details Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground

17 Horatio St,
New York, NY 10014

Number 77 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map

Artist Ernst Coppejans extends his heartfelt gratitude to all the amazing individuals who participated in this endeavour. Special thanks to the organizations that provided invaluable support and assistance throughout: New Alternatives with special recognition to Kate Barnhart, Sylvia’s Place, Destination Tomorrow: The Bronx LGBTQ+ Center, and Brooklyn Community Pride Center.

Sincere gratitude is extended to the Netherlands Consulate-General, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Photoville for their immense support in bringing this exhibition to life. Their unwavering dedication and collaboration have played a vital role in giving a powerful voice to homeless LGBTQIA+ youth and adults in New York City.

Concept, Photography, Text, Audio, and Design: Ernst Coppejans

Production: Photoville

A special thank you is extended to Fonds Kwadraat and Millie Casper (text edit).

This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings