Visitors to the “Sanctuary Cities and the Politics of the American Dream” exhibition which ran from October 3rd through November 9th, encountered powerful works of art dealing with difficult subjects: immigration, family separation, national identity, and what it means to strive for the American dream. Funded by a grant from the International Association of Greater New Haven, and in collaboration with Creative Arts Workshop (CAW) Director Anne Coates and curator Luciana McClure — the heart-rending and thought-provoking exhibition explored and expanded the meaning of sanctuary.
Luciana shared this with a group of student visitors to the exhibition. "Historically, artists have opened the minds of people or at least attempted to create dialogue using the arts. Sometimes you don't have to speak the same language, or be from the same country to understand what they are trying to convey.” Her closing comment to the artists was “Your work has brought powerful conversations, tears and invited many to rethink the world and community in which they live. I am personally changed by your work, the stories and the amount of lessons I’ve learned from each work of art.”
Eighty percent of the 125 artists participating in the exhibit were immigrants who responded to the open call. It is enlightening to see how artists grapple with their own identities as immigrants, as Americans and to witness the interpretations of the “cause and effect issues of change.”
The mixed media canvas “Storm in My Heart II” was recently picked by writer John Katz of Dallas, Texas to grace the cover of his new book “The Siren.” The story portrays a family and their grounds keeper having both endured the loss of one of their family members, shaking their faith and the belief in their respective gods. The setting is a beautiful villa with vast gardens on the Italian Riviera near the French border. The book is due out in next year.
When asked why this art for the cover, John's response was “Once I decided on the title for the book, the image captured perfectly the overall theme of the story.” The book is due out next year.
To view recent works and those available for purchase, you can contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org