The Brooklyn Museum, New York (photo by Jules Antonio/Flickr)

With the rights of immigrants and refugees under increased attack, the art world has mobilized to raise awareness and achieve change: a group show at Hunter East Harlem Gallery spotlighted works by artists applying for an O-1 visa; more than 100 artists created works foregrounding the experiences of detained children. How are New York City’s museums — among the world’s most influential and well-resourced — contributing to these efforts? This Friday, February 28, a colloquium at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development will bring together cultural workers from NYC’s major cultural institutions to discuss how institutions can make an impact on local and incoming immigrants’ lives.

“What Can NYC Art Museums Do for Immigrant Communities?” will feature panelists Adrianne Koteen, curator of public practice at the Queens Museum; Lauren Argentina Zelaya, director of public programs at the Brooklyn Museum; Leticia Gutierrez, associate educator of learning programs and partnerships at the Museum of Modern Art; Maria Canela, community coordinator at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; and Elena Ketelsen, founder and director of La Salita and program manager at the Gracie Mansion Conservatory.

In individual presentations and a talk moderated by Canela, they’ll share existing initiatives and how to support them, staff and volunteer training opportunities, and ways to help immigrant communities across the five boroughs, including non-institutional resources.

A flyer for the upcoming colloquium (courtesy of Constanza Valenzuela)

“As an immigrant and a cultural worker, I feel it is vital to further the dialogue around the relationship between NYC museums and immigrant constituents. Immigrant rights and challenges are very hard to navigate without being outwardly political,” said Constanza Valenzuela, programming assistant at Creative Time, who co-organized the event with Jack Radley. “New York was founded by immigrants and thrives today because of immigrants, and we need to see this being represented in our museums.”

When: Friday, February 28, 6:30-8:30 pm
Where: Einstein Auditorium, 34 Stuyvesant Street, Manhattan

For more information, visit NYU Steinhardt’s website.



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