2020 has tested us. It has been a year that has separated us physically, but brought us together in our determination to tackle difficult situations, and made us realize anew the importance of collective action. At ARTogether, we have adapted our programs to the changing needs of our community, and found creative ways to deepen our engagement and strengthen our ties across the Bay Area. We have examined the values that shape our organization: community, creativity, growth and support, and renewed our goals to live up to these ideals. As we grow, it is imperative to keep at the forefront the reason we are doing this – to build a more compassionate society where refugees and immigrants can flourish.
2019 was a year of development for ARTogether. Our three areas of focus– Community, Artists, and Education—were defined in ways that will add more substance to our efforts going forward. This year we have provided services to over a thousand refugees and immigrants from over 36 different countries. We have launched new media projects, new community partnerships, and support a growing refugee artist network. Though we’ve faced more than our share of challenges, it’s worth taking stock of all we have accomplished this year.
The second year of ARTogether has been an exciting one. Our focus in 2018 has been to become a truly grassroots organization, to reach out to more people throughout the Bay Area and beyond, while engaging with people both within and surrounding our local refugee and immigrant communities. We have held more art classes, workshops and social outings than ever before, and have started new outposts in Concord, California, Fort Worth, Texas, and Zurich, Switzerland.
As ARTogether’s first year draws to a close, I look back with pride on how much we have been able to accomplish in such a short time. The year began in the wake of the shocking election of Donald Trump in November, 2016. Like many citizens, I was horrified by the then – president – elect’s flagrant misogyny and anti – immigration campaign platform. It was then on the eve of the Women’s March in January, 2017, that the idea for ARTogether was born.