The American Dream: from the Light to the Darkness

Art by children of immigrants

The impact of political discussion and changes in enforcement directives revolving around immigration have resulted in heightened concern in many communities. Many children in these communities have now been part of conversations about what happens if they get detained or their parents/loved ones get detained/deported. These concerns have caused fear and anxiety.

A group of community members realized that this was having a negative impact on their overall health, and wanted to do something about it, so they decided to take action to improve the wellbeing of their children. As part of this work, a pediatrician helped the group use art to address their children’s distress. The children were asked to draw or express in words their perception of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the impact that ICE has on their lives.

The resulting drawings/written words were shared for the first time at a City of Bloomington-facilitated community immigration forum where residents and representatives from local organizations, City staff, and the Bloomington School District were present. Bloomington’s Public Health staff also requested Human Rights Commission include the children's work in its 2018 work plan which went on to receive City Council support and approval. During initial meetings, community members discussed their hope to share the drawings through public art exhibits.

At a local gathering, community members named the exhibit, developed the narrative, and selected the artwork to display. The city of Bloomington, Penn Lake, Oxboro, and Augsburg Park libraries will host the pilot exhibits.

The exhibit schedule:

  • Penn Lake Library, Bloomington, June 29 - July 27
  • Oxboro Library, Bloomington, June 29 - July 27
  • Bloomington Farmers Market, September 8
  • Bloomington Civic Plaza, September 9 - October 5
  • Augsburg Park Library, Richfield, October 22 - November 16
  • Bloomington Civic Plaza, December 3 - December 21

This exhibit has been made possible by: Bloomington Human Rights Commission, Artistry, the faith community of Bloomington, Bloomington Public Health, Hennepin County Library and Creative Placemaking.

Book lists about the immigrant experience

For adults

If you like stories like “The Refugees”

For teens

Between two cultures

For kids

New Country, New Home

For preschoolers

New Country, New Home