Location: Palo Alto Art Center Main Gallery
“I am from there. I am from here. I am not there and I am not here. I have two names, which meet and part, and I have two languages. I forget which of them I dream in.”
This exhibition will feature artists who are new to the United States and whose experiences as new Americans are reflected in their art practice. There are more foreign-born residents in Santa Clara County (of which Palo Alto is a part) than in any other county in California, about 38% of the population. In a state that has more immigrants than any other (in fact, half of California children have at least one immigrant parent) and a country than has a larger immigrant population than any other in the world, this is a truly meaningful statistic and one we choose not to ignore.
For those of us who have never known what it feels like to be an “other,” the artists in this exhibition have done us a great service. By examining and expressing their experiences, they help us to be more compassionate, more knowledgeable citizens. In the midst of the confusion and outrage permeating immigration policy today, one thing is abundantly clear: these new Americans have a tremendous amount to add to the cultural and artistic prosperity of our nation.
The exhibition will also feature the Sanctuary Print Project, a participatory mobile printmaking studio which offers printmaking experiences for the public. This project has been committed to sharing and archiving the stories of community members and addresses the complexity of the immigrant experience.
Why did you come here? When did you forget you were an immigrant? A sanctuary is not a quiet place. Artists Sergio de la Torre and Chris Treggiari will be working to document and share how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the immigrant population, providing opportunities for dialogue around sanctuary cities, immigration, and public health.
Created by the community, for the community five decades ago, the Art Center serves as a testament to the potential of collective action. 50 years ago, a group of Palo Altans recognized the value and potency of creativity for the city and the need to give it a home. The Palo Alto Art Center’s 50th anniversary programming will showcase the power of art to make a similarly profound impact—by promoting accessibility, social justice, community healing, and celebration. This golden anniversary will provide an opportunity to celebrate the potent value of art to make a difference in the lives of individuals and the larger community.