The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Monday, August 8, 2022

To Begin Anew Photography Show in Pulaski Park

Northampton, MA - On August 13th and 14th, an outdoor photography show will be up in Pulaski Park in Northampton, MA.

The show, “To Begin Anew”, will feature photographs and stories from five former refugees who have resettled in Western Massachusetts and become American citizens. The New Americans featured are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and Syria.

The photography installation is in collaboration with Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, an organization that provides services for immigrants, refugees, elders, and more, as well as the Amherst Arts Council and the Northampton Arts and Culture Department, both of which provided Seva with the grant funding to carry out and exhibit the project.

Mei Seva interviewed and photographed the former refugees over the past few months.

Seva, herself a Hampshire College graduate, moved to the United States when she was six years old from Albania, a Balkan country in Southeast Europe. She explains the purpose of the project as shedding light on the realities of life in developing countries where people’s lives and livelihood are at constant risk from war, famine, government persecution, and lack of financial opportunities.

“Anti-immigrant rhetoric remains a dominant theme in U.S. politics following Trump’s presidency. That’s why it’s more important than ever to build empathy, community, and awareness of the lives of refugees.

In Western Massachusetts, Jewish Family Service has been working hard to relocate Afghan refugees. And while Western Mass is known for its more liberal attitudes, it is still a predominantly white part of the country where people lack exposure to diverse cultures and people. I hope this project will help Northampton residents understand the hardships many refugees and immigrants face in their home countries and welcome these communities with open arms.”

For more info, contact:

Mei Seva


Lori Friedman

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