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An art exhibit focused on the immigrant experience is coming to the Historical Society of Long Beach Friday

The community project shares stories and traditions of people who migrated to Long Beach.

An art exhibit focused on the immigrant experience is coming to the Historical Society of Long Beach Friday
Community members pose with artwork they made for a project that will now be displayed at the Historical Society of Long Beach starting June 7. Photo courtesy of Órale/ De’Andre Jackson.

A new community art exhibit will open at the Historical Society of Long Beach on Friday and showcase the traditions and stories of immigrant communities in the city.

The project is a collaboration between artist Jose Loza and Órale (Organizing Rooted in Abolition, Liberation and Empowerment), a community organization that advocates for undocumented residents.

The art project — which will be free for the public to view — resulted from a series of workshops where Long Beach residents shared their migration stories through art and interviews.

It will supplement an existing exhibit “Centro de La Raza” at the Historical Society, which focuses on the Chicano movement in the city and early efforts by community activists to empower the growing Hispanic population in the city.

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The new exhibit will be on display June 7 through June 14. It was funded by a grant from the California Arts Council Creative Corps and the Arts Council for Long Beach.

Órale Executive Director Gaby Hernandez said the project was intended to make art more accessible to community members while also capturing a snapshot of the immigrant experience in Long Beach.

“We know that any movement has always been connected to art,” Hernandez said. “All the movements that you can think about, there is art that pops up into your mind that connects the two,” she said.

The turn to an art-based project is part of the organization’s health justice work, Hernandez said, adding that for communities to be active and engaged, they need to have their basic needs met.

“So, we’re coming at this from a health justice lens to make sure that people have spaces where they can be creative, expressive and we’re exposing them to something that has been so distant to them,” Hernandez said.

Prints, oral histories and photographs of the program participants working on their creations are some of the elements that will appear in the exhibit this week.

The organization and the Historical Society are holding an opening reception for the free exhibit on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. The Historical Society opens Tuesday through Friday at 1 p.m. On Saturdays, the Historical Society is open at 11 a.m.

The Historical Society of Long Beach is located at 4260 Atlantic Blvd.

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