The Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program (CCHAP) at CHS is proud to present Voices of Wisdom: Newcomer Stories. This interactive event will illuminate the journeys, struggles and achievements of immigrants and refugees making new lives in Connecticut, through storytelling, art, music, and dance.
We believe that this interaction is a good way to break down barriers of understanding. Eight speakers from groups and countries such as Burmese Karen, Somali Bantu, Mexican, St. Lucia, Nepal, Ethiopia, Syria, and Cote d’Ivoire will share personal narratives showing how they have overcome difficulties of adapting to a totally new culture through resilience and creativity, becoming good neighbors and pursuing careers and artistic activities that benefit us all. Speakers will use a 10-minute storytelling format to highlight a particular touchstone moment that expresses their joy, frustration, achievement, or dreams as they make new lives in our city.
Often newcomers “fly under the radar” of society, and they may be stereotyped as economically disadvantaged, users of public assistance, and challenged by lack of English and knowledge of how to “fit in.” Our presentation will highlight the skills that refugees and immigrants bring with them to America, and the contributions they are making as artists, musicians, performers, and cultural leaders.
CHS is partnering with the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association’s Welcoming Committee to produce the event. Georges Annan-Kingsley, a Hartford-based artist originally from Ivory Coast, will serve as the evening’s emcee. Performances will include drummers, dancers, and singers from Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, and Nepal. A reception, art show, and marketplace featuring local newcomer artists will precede the storytelling. Throughout the evening, audience members can meet the artists, talk one-on-one with the speakers, and dance with the performers.
The event is supported by the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign and the United Way Community Campaign, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the CT Office of the Arts/DECD.