About the Project


“Giving Voice to Immigrant Youth in Philadelphia and Mexico”
The "Aqui y Alla" is a transnational public art project created and directed by local artist Michelle Angela Ortiz. The project explores the impact of immigration in the lives of Mexican immigrant youth in South Philadelphia in connection with youth in Chihuahua, Mexico. The project started in July and ends August 30th.
The youth in both communities- here and there- are impacted by the effects of immigration through their family dynamic, sense of identity, shifting of cultures, socio-economic status and violence against their communities. This project works simultaneously on both sides of the border, Chihuahua and Philadelphia to join the two cultural worlds through the vision of young people and their art.

The “Aqui y Alla” project begins in Mexico and continues in Philadelphia.
Four artists and community leaders from the Colectivo Rezizte (Juarez) and Colectivo Madroño (Chihuahua City) worked with indigenous youth in Mexico. The youth created transportable murals on fiber cloth panels that traveled with the four artists to Philadelphia.

With the support of the United States Consulate in Juarez, the four artists (David Flores, Juan Carlos Reyes, Oscar Gallegos and Antonio Leal) traveled to Philadelphia to work in collaboration with lead local artist Michelle Angela Ortiz in conducting a series of writing, street art and mural technique workshop with Mexican immigrant youth in South Philadelphia.
“The U.S. Consulate is dedicated to supporting community leaders in Mexico,” said Olga Bashbush, Public Affairs Officer, Consulate General of the United States of America. “This project will offer the youth in the state of Chihuahua an opportunity to create images that represent their experiences of living near the U.S.- Mexico border .”
Guided by the artists, the transportable mural panels from Mexico will be permanently installed and combined with the images created by the Mexican immigrant youth in South Philadelphia. The end result will be a permanent mural located on 1515 South 6th Street (6th and Dickinson Streets) in South Philadelphia that represents the messages of the youth in both communities.

“I want to provide the youth (here and there) the opportunity to create awareness of the social conditions that exist in their communities. I want them to discover that they are not alone and that others also suffer from the impact of immigration and violence due to lack of resources and racial/ ethnic intolerance. The goal of the "Aqui y Alla" project is to empower the youth through this exchange and creative process so they can find a common bond and have their voices resonate in the artwork we create together.” Director and Local Artist Michelle Angela Ortiz
Collaborators in this project include Philadelphia Academies Inc. and the Mural Arts Program’s Education Program. This project is made possible with the funding support of the United States Consulate in Juarez, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, the Leeway Foundation, Hispanics in Philanthropy and individual donations from supporters. 

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