Immigrant Artists, Culture and Community Health

Tuesday, October 16, 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Organized by Amy Kitchener, executive director, Alliance for California Traditional Arts; Russell Rodriguez, program manager, Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

Moderated by Russell Rodriguez, program manager, Alliance for California Traditional Arts. Presented by Charya Burt, Cambodian classical dancer and choreographer, Charya Burt Cambodian Dance; Juana Gomez, Mixtec herbalist and healer; Ezequiel Torres, Afro-Cuban batá Drummer and Drummaker.

Space is limited at offsite sessions, so a ticket is re­quired. Tickets will be avail­able at the reg­is­tration desk beginning at 7:00 am on Tuesday mor­ning. If the tickets for a session are all gone, you will know that it is full and can make another choice.

Buses for offsite sessions will depart from the main entrance of the hotel at 2:00 pm on Tuesday.

The immigrant experience involves movement, often characterized by genocide, de-territorialization, exile, and economical, political, and social marginalization. While the impetus for immigration is often times traumatic, the process of moving and crossing borders compounds the upheaval, especially for those that migrate without documentation.

Whether contemporary, traditional, or popular, arts emerging from immigrant communities can shape the popular imagination of those communities, while disrupting and challenge social norms. In this session, we will discuss some of the issues that artists address in the process of making art and claiming public space. Creating a new context in the diaspora to practice art and culture, finding community collaborators, taking responsibility for cultural expressions that represent communities in new contexts, and sharing with those outside of one's community are just a few issues that immigrant artists and cultural practitioners address. These artists/practitioners represent a diverse set of experiences and working conditions, covering a panorama of ideas and knowledge systems that serves as an important foundation for the healing of recent or historic traumas and for the creation of individual, family, and community-wide wellbeing.

Session Location: Little Haiti Cultural Center
The Little Haiti Cultural Center presents visual arts programs and classes, plays, exhibitions, and other events that allow visitors the opportunity to gain exposure to Afro-Caribbean culture and expand their knowledge of the arts. The center’s Outreach Program provides opportunities for children to develop artistic skills and explore hidden talents through summer workshops, a performing arts season, and numerous events. The center is committed to providing activities for the community that promote imagination, creativity, and positive experiences for children and adults throughout the year.