Gallery exhibit tells immigrants’ stories

Staff photos by Gage Cureton The exhibit “Immigration: Becoming American” features portraits of young immigrants along with their 200-word biography and quote. The young immigrants hail from a variety of countries around the world.

NEW ULM — The Grand Center for Arts and Culture held an opening reception for the “Immigration: Becoming American” exhibit in the Four Pillars Gallery Friday.

“Immigration: Becoming American” is a travelling photo exhibit by Green Card Voices which includes portraits of young immigrants along with their 200-word biography, a quote and a QR code. Exhibit-goers can scan the code with a smart device to watch the first-person video story of the young immigrant.

Anne Makepeace, Executive Director of The Grand Center for Arts and Culture, said she hopes the public can learn about the young immigrants’ stories and walk away with a better understanding of what it means to live in the United States.

“I thought it would be a good connection for people to see,” Makepeace said. “There’s just all sorts of different stories and very diverse. So it’s good for people to connect.”

“Immigration: Becoming American” is a project created by Green Card Voices, a nonprofit, charitable organization that seeks to communicate the broad narrative of current immigrants in a unique and honest way.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton Exhibit goers can scan a QR code with a smart device and watch the first person video story of the young immigrant.

The organization seeks to build a bridge between immigrants, non-immigrants and advocates from across the country.

“I think it’s great this can be brought to an individualistic perspective,” Assistant Director of the New Ulm Public Library April Ide said. “And learn what these people went through when they got here.”

The exhibit is in partnership with the New Ulm Public Library and their “Becoming American” grant. The grant was brought in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Many of the exhibit-goers remarked “what beautiful faces” the exhibit contains and enjoyed the interesting and diverse biographies of the young immigrants. Some walked away with a sympathetic approach.

“One thing is pretty clear that when they arrived here is the isolation a lot of these people felt from not having family here,” exhibit-goer Robert Beck said. “Which would be a good support group. And also, if they didn’t speak very good english when they got here, that would isolate you even further from the broader context of all the other people living in Minnesota.”

“Immigration: Becoming American” will be featured at The Grand Center for Arts and Culture Feb. 8 through Feb. 27. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

COMMENTS