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The Dreamers Project

Sunday, 02 August 2015 12:01
Published in Blog


As human beings, we rigorously develop our own identity-stories over the course of our lives, but we also tend to create deceptively simple stories about “other” people—those people we do not know and whom we may actually fear. In order to build a stronger, more inhabitable community, however, we must break down the walls between “us” and “them.” We must have the courage and humility to take those stories we think we already know, and replace them with authentic identity stories created by those very people we may have dismissed. At which point, if we listen intently, we will discover that what we share always dwarfs the differences between us.

Although Utah is popularly thought to be “white bred homogenous,” we in fact have a large, diverse population—including thousands of immigrants—and Art Access has developed a comprehensive project that would encourage this population to share their stories through a variety of creative disciplines. Because Art Access has over 30 years of respected community presence, we were able to make connections with several key people and organizations to formulate the best ways to engage young people and their families in an exploration of immigrant narrative story telling—hence, our Dreamers Project.

The Dreamers Project is focused on diverse cultural identities in the United States. Objectives include expanding cultural knowledge, intelligence, awareness, sensitivity, competence and humility in the Salt Lake community. In utilizing processes that focus on self-reflection and self-exploration, the project is designed to encourage careful consideration of assumptions, beliefs, and biases that are embedded in every individual’s cultural subconscious. Art Access will create a safe space in which immigrants can design, compose, and share their stories and self-identity, also focusing on the universal human longing for home and what it means to feel at home. This will expand on what it means to be an American with the understanding that when we know the stories of others, we are seeing them as they wish to be seen.


In August, 2015, the six resident performing arts companies of Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, joined together in dance, music and theater for a unique one-day only performance challenge. Starting at 9 am, each resident company began creating all new original works based on the concept of "The Dreamers." Using images from the book DREAMers: Living in the Shadow of Hope - The Undocumented Experience in Word & Image by Annie Brewer and Lynn Hoffman-Brouse, as a springboard for inspiration, each company created a performance within a 10-hour timeframe. At 8 p.m., the companies performed their creations in a one-night-only event ROSE EXPOSED: THE DREAMERS PROJECT, with 100% of the ticket sales benefiting Art Access. 

Videographer Stéphane Glynn, captured the essence of this beautiful day in the following, short video production that is not to be missed. Please CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW THE ROSE EXPOSED: THE DREAMERS.


PHASE 1 - Spring 2016

KUED's Diverse Film Series will present films exploring the history of communities of color in the U.S. Utilizing the Sorenson Unity Center's joint presentation of these films, Art Access will offer two creative writing workshops encouraging participants to think about their own narratives as Dreamers. Conversations will revolve around identity within a diverse group and appreciating the unique story of all involved, as well as examine and contemplate human meaning and personal place in modern American culture. Writing will then be recorded as spoken word pieces in the Sorenson recording studio. Produced voice recordings of produced writing will be submitted to NPR’s Storycorps radio program. Writings produced will also be included in Art Access’ Desert Wanderings annual literary magazine.

PHASE 2 - Summer 2016

A two-week movement workshop (25-hours on Mondays – Thursdays from 9AM to Noon between June 10 and July 1). Juan Carlos Claudio will be the teaching artist. Resulting collaborative choreography will culminate with a performance (July 1), with an additional performance (October 22 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center) in conjunction with the curated exhibition (described below). The initial workshop and performance will occur at Sorenson, with Claudio facilitating an audience discussion following. The workshop is designed to focus on the process of articulating identity through movement. Participants will also attend the Utah Arts Festival and meet with professional dancers from Ririe Woodbury during the workshop (on June 23). The recorded spoken word pieces produced in Phase 1 will be utilized as "music" in this phase.

PHASE 3 - Fall 2016

1) A curated, three-week exhibit in the Art Access Gallery will be held from October 21 through November 11. The exhibit will then travel to the Sorenson Unity Center and hang from November 18 – December 9. Both locations will host an opening night artists’ reception. The exhibit will be co-curated by Lynn Hoffman-Brouse and Susan Vogel and will include documentary photography and artwork created by Dreamers and other immigrant artists. Filmographer Stéphane Glynn will produce an original short-film that focuses on Phases 1 & 2. This and the spoken-word recordings will be exhibited as video and audio installation pieces. 2) A six-week visual art-making workshop will be offered on Thursday evenings from September 1 – October 6. Parents will collaborate with their children to produce artwork that explores their personal family narratives around being Dreamers. Finally, 3) our Book Group will host a discussion of Americanah, a novel about race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. The discussion will be lead by literary scholar Susan Anderson on October 26 at the Sorenson Unity Center. As part of the book’s focus Art Access will also host a viewing of Adichie’s TED Talk on The Danger of a Single Story on November 2, which will be followed by a facilitated discussion.

Above image from the book DREAMers: Living in the Shadow of Hope - The Undocumented Experience in Word & Image by Annie Brewer and Lynn Hoffman-Brouse


At-A-Glance Calendar of Dreamers Project Events
Writing and Spoken Word Workshop with Horizonte Instruction & Training Center Juan Rodriguez Fridays, February 26 – April 15, 2016 (no class on March 25th during Spring Break) 1:10 pm – 2:55 pm

Horizonte Instruction & Training Center*

*This workshop is offered exclusively to students at Horizonte, for which they will receive class credit.

Writing Workshop 2 with Community Writing Center Nic Contreras Saturdays April 16 – May 6th, 2016 10 am – 1 pm Community Writing Center
Dreamers Movement Workshop Juan-Carlos Claudio Mon- Thurs, June 20 -23 and June 27-30, 2016. Presentation on July 1, 2016. 9 am – noon Sorenson Unity Center Black box Theater
Gallery Exhibit Co-curated by Lynn Hoffman-Brouse and Susan Vogel October 21 – November 11 and November 18 – December 9, 2016. n/a First showing in the Art Access Gallery, second showing at the Sorenson Unity Center
Visual art workshop for families FrameWorks September 1 – October 6, 2016 Tba Tba
Art Access Book Group discussion of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Susan Anderson October 26, 2016 6 pm – 7:30 pm Art Access Workshop

TED Talk Presentation:

‘The Danger of a Single Story’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Art Access Staff November 2, 2016 6 pm – 7:30 pm Art Access Gallery

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