On Friday night, 65 students made the walk through the cold to come to the sound stage. Idyllwild Arts was one of the hosting locations for the international release of a film by French street artist J.R. The short film called “Ellis” starred Robert De Niro. It was an avant-garde artistic expression that highlighted the experience of migrating to America through Ellis Island. A short discussion where discussion followed our students, half of whom are international, shared their experiences of crossing borders. This was used as a segue to talk about modern immigration issues and how artists can play a role in social justice.
The second film shown was “Migration is Beautiful,” a short documentary by Favianna Rodriguez about the role of art activism in the current immigrant rights movement. This resonated with many of our students, some of whom were shocked at the harsh consequences and racist roots of immigration laws. There was a tangible sense of empowerment and collective imperative to use art for good.
This event is the first in a series of events around the theme of Immigration and Citizenship. In February, we will have an entire day dedicated to the topic. Seven artist-activists representing each artistic discipline will come to work with our students. Ideas and input from faculty and students are welcome.
Thanks to Jana Baker in the library for hooking us up with J.R.’s film. Thanks to Paul Taglianetti to putting in the late hours to run the sound stage for us. Thanks to Jenny Kirchner, Quinn Benson, and Mike Fan for pictures. Thanks to dorm parents Sabrina Bowles and Andrew Leeson for making it possible.