The Looking for America tour is an effort to hear different perspectives on immigration in America through the lens of very different communities. Looking for America: Anchorage is part of a new dialogue and art initiative that began in Detroit and is touring six cities across the United States. At a time when Americans are more divided than ever, especially on the issue of immigration, Looking for America seeks to bring people together across political divides and answer the question, “What does it mean to be American?” This series serves to reveal what different Americans and communities think about immigration, how local culture and circumstance is shaping political perspectives across the United States, and how we can build more constructive dialogue and understanding at a time of increasing division and polarization across America. Media are invited to preview, attend, and cover Looking for America: Anchorage.
What: A dinner and dialogue in Anchorage is part of a larger exhibit — on display and open to the public at the Anchorage Public Library from September 16 to October 20, 2019 — featuring local artists who represent different backgrounds, countries of origin, political viewpoints, and art practices. Approximately 50-75 participants, including local leaders and community members with different political identities, will attend the event, viewing and interacting with curated art exhibitions from local artists, all centered around the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” Participants will share their reactions to the art and their perspectives and stories over a shared meal.
The remaining host cities and regions include Detroit, Michigan; El Paso, Texas; Northwest Arkansas; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Siouxland, Iowa. In addition to local partners, the national organizers of Looking for America are New American Economy, the American University School of Public Affairs, and CuriosityConnects.us. These groups have come together to build a model for hosting constructive dialogue and civil discourse around pressing topics like immigration, which can eventually be shared and hosted in cities across each of the 50 states.
The event will feature remarks by:
● Mara Kimmel, First Lady of Anchorage and Deputy Director of Strategy, Research, and Scholarship, Anchorage Museum
● Philippa Hughes, CuriosityConnects.us
● Vicky Wilkins, Dean of the American University School of Public Affairs
● Dan Wallace, Director of Special Projects, New American Economy
● Along with the Anchorage Public Library, partners include the Anchorage Mayor’s Office, Anchorage Museum, University of Alaska Anchorage, New American Economy, the American University School of Public Affairs, and CuriosityConnects.us.
Friday, September 20, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Anchorage Public Library, 3600 Denali St. Anchorage, AK 99503
We’re thrilled to bring together key institutions like the Anchorage Public Library and the Anchorage Museum—along with community members representing the full diversity of our community—to have this important dialogue,” said Mara Kimmel, First Lady of Anchorage and Deputy Director of Strategy, Research, and Scholarship at the Anchorage Museum. “Right now is an especially important time to encourage conversation on immigration and what it means to be an American. This discussion is so important for Alaskans and across the country.”
“We are proud to host Looking For America in Anchorage as it’s a city that represents some of America’s most cherished values, like endurance, hard work, ingenuity, and perseverance,” said Dan Wallace, Director of Special Projects at New American Economy. “Anchorage is a city with a growing voice in immigration, making it an ideal setting to explore thoughts around American identity and immigration.”
“Art can help us to process complicated ideas and emotions,” said Philippa P.B. Hughes of CuriosityConnects.us. “Sometimes people find it easier to identify with something that expresses how they feel, rather than what they think. In this way, art can lead to greater empathy between people who may not necessarily see eye to eye.”
“The School of Public Affairs at American University is committed to civil discourse as a crucial aspect of our democracy, and faculty members are committed to sharing these skills on and beyond campus, especially in this time of hyper-partisan divide,” said Vicky Wilkins, Dean, School of Public Affairs at American University. “We also look forward to listening to and learning from community members in Anchorage–and bringing those important learnings back to Washington, D.C.”
● Natasha Abel, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 885-5943
● Sona Rai, email@example.com, (646) 324-8284
● Liza Morris, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 251-8287 (for requests during the actual event)
Find more information, visit LookingForAmerica.us.