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April 2014: Issue 2.7   
In this Issue: 
Arts and Integration

State Museum to Show Art from Newcomers School Students
April 14, 2014
News & Record 
Read More Here > > 
UMass Lowell Recognize Contributions of immigrants with Display of Art, Stories 
Robert Mills
April 14, 2014
Lowell Sun

Los Angeles, CA
December 14th-16th, 2014
National Immigrant Integration Conference


Milan, Italy

November 3rd-7th, 2014

19th Metropolis International Immigration Conference

Berlin, Germany
June 4th-6th, 2014
An Agenda For Shared Prosperity Conference

Washington D.C.
July 7th-10th, 2014
U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services: National Migration Conference


Immigrants and the Fine Arts in America

Much has been said and published about the contribution of immigrants to the sciences, technical innovation and entrepreneurship in the United States. A variety of studies have demonstrated that contributions of foreign-born scientists and engineers to our country greatly exceed their numerical representation in society. Other studies, including some underwritten by the Kaufman Foundation, have shown the important role played by immigrants in starting new businesses and in creating jobs.


Much less has been said and written about the contribution of immigrants to the arts.  This is perhaps because the arts are viewed by some as a luxury, something that is nice to have, but not absolutely essential for a nation's success and survival. Yet, history teaches us that  -- since antiquity -- there has never existed a great nation without great art. The United States is no exception; we are considered a world leader not only in technical innovation and industrial production, but also in the quality of our artistic achievements, be it in painting, sculpture, literature, music, theater, dance or film. There should be more studies documenting the representation of foreign-born artists among leaders in the various arts fields in the United States. My bias: such studies would likely show that the contribution of foreign-born artists to the leading position of American art in the world is nearly as substantial as the contribution of foreign-born scientists to the excellence of American science.


Let's take a look at snippets of information about the role of immigrant artists in America. The Wikipedia chapter "Visual Art of the United States" provides a brief history of painting and sculpture in this country.  The section on abstract expressionism - the first American fine art movement to exert a major influence internationally - lists twenty-nine artists by name. Of these, seven (de Kooning, Rothko, Gorky, Guston, Tworkow, Hoffmann and Bourgeois), or 24 percent, are foreign-born. 


Literature is another important artistic endeavor that, even more than the visual arts, epitomizes the spirit of the country in which it is created. It may come as a surprise that a large percentage of successful young writers active in America today are born abroad. The New Yorker magazine devoted one of its 2010 issues to writers under the age of 40 who "capture the inventiveness and the vitality of contemporary American fiction". Remarkably, nine of the twenty authors who made the list were born outside the United States-a testament to the role of immigrants in American literature today. Even more surprising is the fact that for the majority of these foreign-born writers, English was not their first language.


To raise awareness of the achievements of immigrants to the arts and to science in America, the Vilcek Foundation initiated a program of annual prizes that recognize important contributions made by foreign-born scientists and artists to the United States. Awarding prizes in both science and the arts makes the Vilcek Foundation prize program quite unique, even though the relationship between the arts and sciences can be traced back to antiquity. The list of past prizewinners (available at reads like "Who Is Who in the Arts and Sciences in America".


In the context of this newsletter it is also appropriate to mention efforts to help integrate immigrant artists. One example of such an effort is the Immigrant Artist Program of the New York Foundation for the Arts, building and serving a community of artists with diverse backgrounds, who share the experience of immigration. The goal of the Immigrant Artist Program is to foster the creative careers of immigrant artists by connecting them with services and resources that help them integrate into the cultural world in this country.  It would not be surprising if another Yo-Yo Ma, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Christo or Vladimir Nabokov were to emerge as a result of these efforts.



Jan Vilcek
President, The Vilcek Foundation


Dr. Jan T. Vilcek, Professor of Microbiology at New York University School of Medicine, was born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). In 2000, Dr.Vilcek and his wife, Maria Vilcek, an art historian, established the Vilcek Foundation, whose main mission is to recognize, honor, and publicize outstanding contributions of of immigrants to the sciences, arts and humanities in the United States. Dr. Vilcek serves on the BC Immigrant Integration Lab Advisory Board. 


INTAR: Producing Latino Voices in English Since 1966 


INTAR, International Arts Relations, Inc. is one of the United States' longest running Latino theaters producing in English. Founded in New York in 1966 by a group of Cuban and Puerto Rican writers and artists, the theater has evolved from producing significant Spanish  and European works to emphasizing new works that reflect the Hispanic culture and  community in the United States.


In addition to their main-stage plays, INTAR has a host of development programs for emerging Latino playwrights and actors. The developmental theater program has hosted various writing labs and workshops designed to support the creation of new theater works by Hispanic artists. It has been said that almost every Latino playwright working today has participated in one of INTAR's workshops. The rich history of the theater includes the operation of an educational program for public school students, an internship program and the founding of a Latin American Gallery for emerging and established Latino artists. 


Read more about INTAR> >



Re-Discovering Voice: Korean Immigrant Women in Group Music Therapy

Kim Seung-A

The Arts in Psychotherapy, Vol. 40, Issue 4, (September, 2013)

This paper explores the impacts of music therapy of older Korean immigrant women in New York. Conducted over a period of 6 months, the women participated in weekly music therapy sessions. Researchers paid attention to the impacts of subculture and group dynamics. Likewise, attention was paid to the role of gender and cultural adjustment throughout each session. Through this work, music therapists attempted to use music as a tool to aid client awareness of and coping mechanisms for social-political oppression. Music was also used as to mitigate acculturative stress. The article concludes with thorough clinical recommendations for trained music therapists. This article is relevant for clinicians looking for non-traditional interventions for older adults. 

Read More Here > >


Integrating Creatieve Art into a Community-Based Mental Health Program for Asian American Transition Age Youth
Angela W. Y. Shik
Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 35, Issue 2, (March, 2013)
Shik explores the uses of creative art for Asian American transition age youth. Highlighting the work of Project Focus in Orange County, California, the author describes the behavioral and emotional benefits of integrating creative art into community-based mental health care. The author pays specific attention to the impact of the "model minority" stereotype of Asian American youth and the ways in which creative art therapy can mitigate some of the negative consequences of this stereotype.  In this manner, the author argues that creative art is a medium that can be used to explore identity, express emotions and promote mental well-being across cultural boundaries.

Read More Here > >

Exiles, Art, and Political Activism: Fighting the Pinochet Regime from Afar
Jacqueline Adams
Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 26, Issue 3, (December, 2012)

To help inform the public in their host countries about the suffering caused by the Pinochet dictatorship, Chilean exiles used art (arpilleras) to depict poverty, repression and resistance. The effort to educate also raised money to send back to the resistance movement in the shantytowns, as well as foster collective activism and keep the exiles politically active and engaged in the struggle. Professional integration was difficult at the level they had enjoyed in Chile, and the different social and political environment meant that they did not initially identify with local causes. The authors found that selling Arpilleras was a form of therapy that gave meaning to one's exile and diminished the sense of isolation.

Read More Here > >




Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work  

Edwidge Danticat (2011) : Vintage Books

"In this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Inspired by Albert Camus lecture Create Dangerously, and combining memoir and essay, Danticat tells the stories of artists, including herself who create despite or because of, the horrors that drove them from their homelands and that continue to haunt them."


Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States

The first book to provide a comprehensive and lively analysis of the contributions of artists from America's newest immigrant communities--Africa, the Middle East, China, India, Southeast Asia, Central America, and Mexico. They address the art forms that these modern settlers bring with them; and consider the ways in which the communities' young people integrate their own traditions and concerns into contemporary expression. Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States provides a great deal of information about the way recent arrivals use art to adapt to the United States, to recognize themselves and share outlooks with others. The book exemplifies a compelling and innovative approach that has considerable potential to improve the study of immigration and of cultural production. 

EDITORS:  E. Broderick, V. Corbera, W. Egmont, C. Goldstein-Walsh, J. Nomeland, and A. Young