Sunday, June 21, 2015

Theresa's Intro

Hi everyone,
I can't believe how late I am on my introduction post! I am certainly having a busy summer. My name is Theresa Finocchiaro and I'm an illustration major about to go into my senior year. I was thrilled to be matched up with Jennifer Baker for the Summer Fellows Program to assist her on the Portraits of People on the Move project that is in hand with Supper, People on the Move. While Supper is the dance performance exploring migration (who's rehearsals I have unfortunately not yet been able to attend), Jennifer is putting together the gallery space that leads into the performance area. For this area we have been busily working to collect Philadelphia area immigrants’ stories and interviewing them to hear all about their journeys to the United States. Paired with these amazing stories are their portraits (some left anonymous for security reasons) in an almost Humans of New York kind of set up. We have 14 of these formatted into very large prints to hang on the gallery wall along with books containing 50+ different stories that will be on tables in the gallery area.

My summer started off very crazy, leaving on a two week trip to Ireland only five hours after my last final. Jennifer and I started putting things together the day I returned and have been working very hard ever since- her collecting and translating the stories while I format the book and contact people for their information. Everyone that has been interviewed for this project has been so kind opening up and letting us hear their stories (which I hope to share in a future post). They’ve given us really positive feedback and all seem to be really enjoying seeing their stories posted on the blog/facebook page. This project has had a really cool impact on my personal life as well. Three of my grandparents came to the United States from Italy and my parents have been starting to tell me more about their immigration process, even showing me their passports and boat paperwork. I have always had some small contact with my cousins in Italy, but now we have been chatting more about finally visiting each other, which would be a really exciting future meeting to come out of this project.

The gallery space for Portraits of People on the Move opens Tuesday June 23 and is on display until Sunday the 28th. There is also an opportunity to view these stories and photographs at The performances for Supper, People on the Move are the June 25-28 at 8pm. I invite all who are interested to come to the performances or stop by to check out the gallery space.

Along with the stories we already have, Jennifer is hoping to add to this book over time. If you or someone you know would like to add their story, please feel free to contact me!

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