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Expressive Arts Programs for Refugee and ImmigrantsDownload

Arts for New Immigrants Program, a joint project between the Oregon Folklife Program (OFP) and Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), has assisted over 80 artists and has successfully combined social service and arts programming to improve links between refugee and immigrant artists and area organizations and to expand the network of resources available to the newcomer artists. Arts for New Immigrants Program has done many special projects including: Arts Opening Doors, (2000-2001), In My Country (2001-2003) and Youth Traditional Arts Classes every year from 1999-2004. With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Cultural Trust, and Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Arts for New Immigrants Program presented the Refugee Elders Traditional Arts Program (RETAP) in 2003-2004, which coordinated multicultural and intergenerational project teams to document the traditional arts of refugee seniors. This project included a video documentary and publication, a series of youth traditional arts classes and a community arts event. In 2005, funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Oregon Arts Commission, Fund for Folk Culture and Collins Foundation, Arts for New Immigrants Program offered Creating Access for Refugee and Immigrant Traditional Artists (CARITA). This project trained a multicultural project team how to effectively present and showcase refugee and new immigrant traditional arts within an American format of festival art events. For more information, go to: http://www.irco.org/contact/index.html or contact Dr. Jeff MacDonald (503) 234-1541 x104, jeffm@mail.irco.org. (Description taken from the Web site.)

Asian Youth Services Committee Lion Dance Team was established in the mid 1990s for Bay Area youth of all ages and ethnic backgrounds to come together to share a common interest in traditional Chinese (Southern) Lion Dance. The team includes both dancers and musicians who play drums, gongs, and cymbals. In addition to learning the movement and music of the lion dance, students have the opportunity to practice good sportsmanship and teamwork. Members have many opportunities to perform for the community in events such as the Lunar New Year Parade, Dragon Boat Race, Oakland A's Game, StreetFest, Festival at the Lake, weddings, birthdays, and grand openings. The dance team has also participated in a number of dance competions. The group has been recognized in the community through newspapers and television broadcasts. AYSC Lion Dance Team is a non-profit organization, and all donations received from their performances are put into the AYSC general fund, which helps support scholarships, dances, retreats, and new lion dance equipment. For more information, call call (510) 238-7930 or visit http://ayscliondance.com/. (Description summarized from the Web site.)

Changing Worlds is an educational arts non-profit organization in Chicago, Illinois, whose mission is to foster inclusive communities through oral history, writing, and art programs that improve student learning, affirm identity, and enhance cross-cultural understanding. Its unique approach integrates cultural, family, and community histories with writing and the arts to help program participants explore their own backgrounds and learn about others while strengthening their academic skills. Its areas of focus include: school partnership programs; professional development institutes and workshops for teachers; and community outreach initiatives including traveling exhibitions and short-term public education programs. Changing Worlds believes in the power of the arts to cross language barriers, give a voice to those who might otherwise stay silent and serve as a cathartic and educational tool. In the program, participants explore the work of professional artists, learn and apply art techniques and principles in creating art and develop the vocabulary and confidence to talk about their own art and that of the professional artist. Program participants produce interdisciplinary art exhibitions and projects such as quilts, plays, collages, murals and paintings to name a few. For more information, contact information can be found at http://www.changingworlds.org/contactus.html.

Hmong American Partnership (HAP) is a Hmong community-based organization in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. HAP’s mission is “to help Hmong grow deep roots in America while preserving the strength of our culture.” HAP provides comprehensive, culturally appropriate social services and is one of the largest Hmong refugee agencies in the United States. HAP offers a number of youth programs. Hmong Youth Pride (HYP) is an after-school program for Hmong students in grades 4-8, which offers tutoring, life skills development, and cultural preservation activities. In addition, HYP has five “Family Fun Nights” throughout the year, where parents and children eat and play games, fieldtrips to the Science Museum of Minnesota, movies, roller-skating, and an annual camping trip. The Peem Tsheej (Struggle for Success) program helps youth ages 12-18 increase their self-confidence and connection to family and community through the arts, recreational activities, life skills building, and cultural activities. Another group of Hmong teens produces Hmoob Teen Magazine, which is by Hmong teens and about teen issues. Each issue of the magazine has been extremely well received and has a readership of over 20,000 people in 13 states. The magazine gives participants a chance to get involved in every aspect of the production and teens are encouraged to submit articles, pictures, and poems for publication. Furthermore, HAP offers Hmong language classes, traditional Hmong dance classes, and weekly peer group meetings. Classes on traditional instrument making and sewing have also been offered in past years. For more information, contact information can be found at http://www.hmong.org/displaycontent.asp?id=15.

The Institute for Cultural Partnerships (ICP) in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), develops and administers services in the field of folk and traditional Arts. Through outreach, technical assistance, and grants to individual artists, ICP supports high quality traditional arts programming and the conservation of the traditional arts found in Pennsylvania, including those art forms brought to the area by immigrants and refugees. ICP also manages a state-wide Folk Arts Infrastructure Initiative which seeks to develop and expand the existing infrastructure for folk and traditional arts. As part of this initiative, ICP provides grants to organizations so that they may identify traditional artists, develop programs and resources, and create opportunities for collaboration and networking in their region. As an interdisciplinary organization dedicated to facilitating understanding among diverse cultures and communities, ICP’s Arts and Heritage program uses ethnographic methodologies to positively impact community building and improve inter-group relations. Through cultural surveys and fieldwork that focuses on identifying significant folk arts and practices in cultural communities, ICP develops educational curriculum and training programs for a variety of audiences. ICP also works with communities to identify needs and assist in other capacity building efforts. For more information, send an electronic message to Amy Skillman, at http://www.culturalpartnerships.org/about/contact.asp.

The International Rescue Committee in Seattle, Washington hosts Refugee ARTvocacy each year to honor refugees for World Refugee Day. In 2007, the event was sponsored by the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Art and Cultural Affairs, Humanities Washington, the Capitol Hill Arts Center, the Adee Law Firm, and ARTech. The event featured works by individuals from around the world now living in the Puget Sound area, including special performances by Kinnaly, the Laotian dance troupe; the Roosevelt Cambodian Dance Troupe; Behar, the Bosnian dance troupe; and jazz singer Thu Tran. Over 24 refugee artists and 34 refugee performers participated, representing 15 countries. Exhibits included Burmese paintings, traditional Kashmiri silks, Iraqi sculptures, and ceramics and oil and pastel paintings by artists from around the world. In 2007, many photos were taken at the event. For more information, contact information can be found at http://www.theirc.org/staff/office-united_states_seattle_wa.html.

Little Black Pearl Workshop is a nonprofit arts studio and center serving youth in the Kenwood/Oakland, Woodlawn, and Bronzeville neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side. Little Black Pearl has a state-of-the-art, 40,000 square foot Art and Design Center located in the Kenwood/Oakland neighborhood. This cultural arts center provides opportunities in art, culture and entrepreneurship to youth, adults and families across Chicago. The mission of Little Black Pearl is to create opportunities for youth and adults to deepen their creative involvement through the arts, cultivate their entrepreneurial skills and use the arts as a means for economic empowerment and community transformation. Little Black Pearl serves an increasingly diverse youth population and has also added curricula and services for adults and families. For more information, contact information can be found at http://www.blackpearl.org/contact/.

Youth Art Connection (YAC) is a division of the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta (BGCMA). It is the organization’s Arts & Cultural Enrichment Program office. BGCMA annually serves more than 26,000 kids, ranging in age from 6 to 18. YAC offers BGCMA members and other youth programs and workshops in many media including fine arts, photography, creative writing, digital art, and cultural enrichment. Many programs bring together national and regional artists and kids to collaborate on challenging projects. YAC operates a 5,000 square foot gallery space in downtown Atlanta and holds numerous youth exhibits in the gallery, all open free to the public. YAC is also home to International Paint Pals (IPP), a program originally developed in former President Jimmy Carter's The Atlanta Project. Over the last eleven years, Paint Pals has organized numerous major exhibitions for the Olympic Games both in Atlanta and Greece, the United Nations, UNICEF, the Goodwill Games, and the Admiralty in St. Petersburg, Russia. Over 100,000 young people from more than 55 countries on 6 continents participate in International Paint Pals. IPP is currently organizing an international exhibition for the Beijing Olympic Games. For more information about Youth Art Connection, check contact information at http://www.youthartconnection.org/contact.php.

Latin American Youth Center’s Art and Media House, in Washington, DC, encourages youth to discover the power of their art as a means of self-expression and as a tool for exploring community issues. The creative abilities of youth are developed through hands-on training in media (photography, radio, video, and music production) and fine arts (drawing, painting, mixed media and murals). The Art & Media House provides classes to youth age 11-18, and older if currently enrolled in high school or a GED program. The program includes fall and spring sessions and a summer work program. The classes are held at the art and media house's three-story facility that includes a gallery, fine arts studio, digital media lab, sound room, audio engineering room, darkroom, and classroom space. Participants are exposed to the experiences of working artists through “behind the scenes” fieldtrips to museums and artists’ studios, maintaining artists’ books, portfolio development, and exhibitions at the conclusion of each class session. For more information, contact information may be found at http://www.layc-dc.org/contact/default.html. (Description summarized from the Web site.)

Studio 2000 is an arts-based youth employment program coordinated by the Louisville Metro Office of Youth Development. It is modeled after Gallery 37 in Chicago and is open to local high school students. Studio 2000 draws participants from all public, parochial, & private schools within Metro Louisville. Studio2000 provides employment for young artists who demonstrate an interest and skill in the Visual Arts. Students from diverse backgrounds work with equally diverse professional artists. There is a public exhibit, show and sale at the end of each of the three sessions. Proceeds are returned to Studio 2000 to support future programming. Studio 2000 is a year-round program and has two working studios in the downtown area. Young people who are interested in a career in the arts have the opportunity to work with artists who are self supporting. Those who like creating with their hands have the opportunity to learn new skills while earning an income. For more information, contact Studio 2000 Manager, Gwen Murphy, at gwen.murphy@louisvilleky.gov.

SAYA! South Asian Youth Action is a program for South Asian youth in Elmhurst, New York. Self-expression takes a variety of forms at SAYA!, whether it's through mural painting, song writing, or filmmaking. Through the Arise program, SAYA! provides South Asian youth with a safe and supportive atmosphere where they can articulate their opinions through newsletters, videos, or murals. A co-ed leadership and organizational program provide young people ages 13 to 19 with the opportunity to learn about the issues that are important to them and their community. Students meet for two hours, two times per week, from October through May, learning about local politics and community organizing in the fall and choosing a project for action in the spring. In 2006, students organized an art exhibit at the Queens Museum of Art on "Immigration and Home." The SAYA! all-girls group produced a 15-minute video, "Where My Gurlz At?," describing the challenges they face as young South Asian women growing up in the United States. The video explored issues like arranged marriages and different privileges afforded males in many South Asian cultures. The film was screened at a variety of venues, including Yale University and the Museum of Natural History in New York. Funding for the program includes: Lily Auchincloss; New York Community Trust; New York Foundation; Pinkerton Foundation and New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. For more information, contact information may be found at http://www.saya.org/contact.html.

Refugee Youth Mural Project is a program of Kentucky Refugee Ministries in Louisville, KY. In 2006-07, a group of refugee and immigrant youth worked with local artist, Nico Jorcino, to create a 50-foot mural with the theme of “Empowerment through Literacy”, which they painted on the wall of the Iroquois Manor ValuMarket. Young refugee artists from Cuba, Russia, Vietnam and Sudan worked on weekends over the course of several months. This project was funded through the Kentucky Arts Council with the collaboration of Americorps VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) who were placed with Kentucky Refugee Ministries in Louisville. Many photos were taken during this project. For more information, contract information may be found at http://www.kyrm.org/contact.

Project CREATE (Connecting Resources to Enhance the Arts for Teens and Elders) was made possible through the collaboration of the Verizon Foundation, SEARAC, and four local Southeast Asian organizations in California. This project started in April 2006 and was completed in February 2007. Students connected with elders from their communities and worked together on a variety of creative and educational projects that drew on their communities’ traditions in the arts. One of the main goals was for the students and elders to create stronger bonds of communication and improve their intergenerational social relationships. Elders and youth created a piece of art, which also served as a learning tool to understand more about their communities’ traditions and culture, oral histories and arts. The project also helped participants understand each other’s hopes and dreams for the future. The youth incorporated resources and teachings, such as library research tools, English language, different art mediums, and computer literacy skills to document and highlight oral histories and experiences of the elder generation. For one of the projects, the Iu-Mien Village Project, the Iu-Mien youth came together with community leaders to learn how to build a traditional Iu Mien village house and, at the same time, honor their own history, culture, and traditions. For more information, contact information can be found at http://www.searac.org/offices.html.

The Milagro Center is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, established in September 1998, which provides an arts education after school program to the children of Palm Beach County’s most disadvantaged populations. Milagro, which means “miracle” in Spanish, is an arts-integrated educational and cultural arts facility which serves as a catalyst for community collaboration, individual transformation and social change by providing enriched learning opportunities in five major art domains: dance, theater, music, visual arts and communication arts. The Center’s mission is to enhance social awareness and the pursuit of life goals within an honest and non-sectarian environment. For more information, contact information can be found at http://www.milagrocenter.org/contact.htm.

 
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