Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cover Story in South Philadelphia Review!

Mexican artists design 'Aqui y Alla'
A local muralist encouraged Mexican youths — living locally and in Mexico — to share their stories for a Passyunk Square creation.
By Lauren Hertzler
Born and raised in South Philly by Latino immigrant parents, Ortiz grew up surrounded by people from all different cultures. She first-handedly witnessed the connection her family had with different immigrants — all working toward the “American dream” — but also discovered tensions between different ethnic groups.
“I think that falls into why I would even come up in doing a project like this,” Ortiz said. “It’s because I, like many of the students that were in our program, know what it’s like to speak two different languages, live two different types of cultures, and have another way of looking at things and living life.”
Ortiz wanted the basis of her project to use art as a means to bring people together, giving them a voice and making them visible.
“My role as an artist and my skill as an artist really can help give presence to a community,” Ortiz said. “I don’t think a mural is going to give us world peace, but I do think that a mural becomes a point of encounter.”
Once Jerry Gramaglia, a South Philly native who owns the apartment building on which the mural was painted, learned what Ortiz wanted to do with the wall, he was hooked.
“Being that my parents were Italian immigrants, I had no problem with [Ortiz] doing the mural,” Gramaglia said. “People tend to forget, I think we’re all immigrants. All us Americans are all immigrants at some point down the line.”

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