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Press Release

Immigrant Stories from Central America in New Art Exhibit at Richmond Health Center

For release May 27, 2005

Personal and community stories about local residents who left Central America and settled in the East Bay will be the focus of a new art exhibition and community reception in Richmond. "Siluetas: de Centro America a Richmond" ("Silhouettes: from Central America to Richmond") opens June 8 at the Richmond Health Center, 100 38th Street, 2nd Floor. The exhibition, presented by ArtsChange, features the work of Bay Area artists Carlos Cartegena, Ruth Morgan and Lonny Shavelson. It runs through September 1.

To celebrate the exhibition opening, ArtsChange and the Richmond Health Center will hold an educational lunch forum will be held for Richmond Health Center staff and interested community Wednesday, June 8 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. A community reception will follow on Thursday, June 9 from 5 - 7 p.m. featuring Francisco Herrera of Caminante. He will lead a poetry and music exploration of displacement from departing Central America and replacement in the Bay Area.

"The exhibition has been several years in the planning and ultimately presents some very complex stories with terrific grace," says Ann Schnake, ArtsChange Artistic Director. "Understanding the crucial history that patient's bring along to the health center makes a difference; giving the stories back to the community has another powerful impact."

To define and shape this exhibition, ArtsChange and the artists collaborated to conduct extensive interviews, focus groups and community workshops to uncover personal and community narratives. "Siluetas" is part of an ArtsChange series, "Migration Stories," which has explored the history of individual and family journeys from all parts of the world to Richmond.

Artist Cartegena, originally from El Salvador, presents a multi-media installation, which utilizes silhouettes, fragments of stories on paper and imbedded video elements. To create the piece, Cartegena gathered stories from Richmond's Central American community. "They remember what they miss, what they gained and what they lost by becoming immigrants," he says.

The exhibition will also feature several other components. Photo-narratives by Morgan document and illustrate individual stories of Richmond's Central American community. Shavelson's photographs from Guatemala, Nicaragua and the US hold a reflection of economic development, spiritual richness and recent events of loss, celebration and transition. Alongside these works, the community has contributed "cosas typicas" (typical things) including maps, handicrafts, food and textiles to offer a larger context from which to view the exhibition.

ArtsChange (formerly known as The Quilt of Many Colors) has organized visual art exhibitions and education programs in public venues since 1997, engaging an urban and culturally diverse community with an art and education program that addresses issues related to health and community. For more information about the exhibition or events, please contact ArtsChange at 510-231-1348 or

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