WE ARE Portraits Celebrate Immigrants

The art installation "WE ARE—A Nation of Immigrants" transformed the New Haven Green and buildings throughout the city into a public celebration of the rich diversity and contributions of immigrants past and present.

Portraits from the "WE ARE- A Nation of Immigrants" project are on display on the New Haven Green and locations around the city through August 15, 2018. Photo credit: Portrait of America

The art installation, WE ARE—A Nation of Immigrants has transformed the New Haven Green and buildings throughout the city into a public celebration of the rich diversity and contributions of immigrants.

An opening celebration took place on June 8 on the New Haven Green, where the portraits remain on display tnrough August 15, 2018.

The outdoor exhibit of 60 larger-than-life portraits of New Haven residents directly brings the issue of immigration to the forefront at this critical time when many immigrants face a climate of fear.

"WE ARE – A Nation of Immigrants" was created by photographer Joe Standart, who is behind the long-running Portrait of America project in cities around the country. Standart's style of extreme close-ups of the eyes of his subjects invites viewers to reflect on the humanity of the people looking at them.

"We have a lot to learn from immigrants," Standart said in an interview about the project, "in the sense of their perceptions of the United States as a place where the individual is honored and dignified; where they can be safe and work to whatever extent they want and achieve their dreams."

The Community Foundation building on Audubon St. is part of the public art installation. Photo credit Leigh Busby

Standart worked in partnership with a team of civic and community leaders. He met his subjects through local nonprofit organizations such as Immigrant Refugee and Resettlement Services (IRIS) and Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA).

The project also includes a printed booklet with oral stories from the subjects of the portraits, as well as a map for self-guided tours through the installation. All the portraits will have a permanent home on a dedicated website.

The Community Foundation provided a $20,000 grant to help fund the installation and reinforce its strategy in support of immigrant integration in Greater New Haven. The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven believes that helping immigrants thrive and fully participate in the community is in everyone's interest. The Foundation is committed to the ongoing work of making Greater New Haven a welcoming community.

Did you know?

Between 2000 and 2012, the City of New Haven experienced a fifty percent (50%) increase in the immigrant population when compared to the previous decade. Source: Understanding The Impact of Immigration in Greater New Haven.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.