Arts and Immigration


 About this Webinar

The arts and…immigration. At this present moment, immigrant artists are often extremely vulnerable and marginalized in our society. Many produce works of high caliber and emigrate here seeking opportunities. They are often educated, experienced, and heralded in their “home” countries. Support for them includes respect for the artist and their art form (frequently, traditional art practices of their native lands). Further, programs specific for immigrant artists need to be created in partnership with the immigrant artists communities. Fears of deportation, incarceration, and voiceless representation earmark many of their lives. 

Using real-world examples and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program as a case study; this webinar will share stories from its’ twelve year history, recent experiences offering this program nationwide (Detroit, Oakland, San Antonio, Newark), suggest recommended ways of empowering immigrant artists with tools, resources, and access to own their rightful place in national conversations, and creative processes in the cultural landscape. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn an overview and history of the program, its goals and outcomes
  • Learn about the moving parts of the program structure that knit together to create an impactful outcome; from mentorship, providing access to networks and resources, alumni engagement, and partnerships
  • Key takeaways; from lessons learned to what challenges immigrant artist encounter and how that can translate to other ways of supporting immigrant artists nationwide and beyond.

About the Series

The arts make more things possible, from better education to greater health outcomes to a more civically-engaged citizenry—but people don’t always see the connection to the arts when change happens. From education and job security to housing, public safety, the military, and more, demonstrating the social impact of the arts and other sectors is increasingly important.  In this series, we will examine the social impact of the arts and other sectors. Join us each month for a new webinar and topic.

Judy Cai

Senior Program Officer, NYFA Learning

Judy Cai is the Senior Program Officer of NYFA Learning at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). She is facilitating various professional development programs at NYFA, such as entrepreneurial boot camps and the Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program, to better serve individual artists. With a strong interest in arts and cultural exchange, Judy is also managing a number of NYFA’s China programs, and outreaching to local Asian artist communities.

Prior to this position, Judy was the Outreach Coordinator at the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts. To become a strong advocate of a global arts exchange and collect extensive experiences in international communications, Judy also worked at Christie’s, Dance/USA and Shanghai International Arts Festival. Judy Cai has a MA in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, a BS in Culture and Arts Management, and a Bachelor of Law from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Website: NYFA Immigrant Artist Program

Alicia Ehni

Program Officer, NYFA Learning

Alicia Ehni is a multidisciplinary artist and Program Officer, NYFA Learning.  At the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) she works on professional development programs for artists of all disciplines and implements programs in Spanish. She is also the Editor of NYFA Con Edison Immigrant Artist Newsletter, former New York Chair for Membership for ArtTable 2016-2019 and serves on Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) Support for Individual Artists committee. 

In her previous role as Gallery Director of Frederico Seve Gallery/Latincollector, Alicia had the opportunity to work with artist Carmen Herrera, Fanny Sanin, and with artists estates, such as Fundacion Gego and Fundacion Emilio Sanchez.

Alicia Ehni studied Fine Arts at Universidad Católica, Perú and Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and Arts Administration at NYU. She is a 2018 fellow of NALAC Leadership Institute, was selected as Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts 2018-19 SHIFT Resident Artist, received a 2019 Puffin Foundation Grant and was awarded a residency at MASS MoCA Summer 2019. 

Website: NYFA Immigrant Artist Program

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