The Dogwood Festival of the Arts is in full swing and there's still plenty of time to see downtown's unique and rewarding fair.
"Convergence: Connecting, Striking Balance" is a multimedia group exhibition curated by Galen Baker, Dogwood Arts Coordinator of Integration and Public Affairs.
The show featured 25 local immigrant and refugee artists, many of whom have become trailblazers in our community.
Eugenia Almeida, originally from Argentina, owner/operator of the industrial development company A New Hue;
Reem Arnouk, of Syrian origin, and Nidhi Jani, of Indian origin, artists at the Made for Knoxville Enterprise Center in Knoxville;
Elena Arsova, Macedonian-born, University of Texas researcher, athlete, artist, activist, motivational speaker, screenwriter, and producer of the documentary This Is Her Story;
José and Pepe Calabrese, father, son and frequent exhibitors, owners and operators of the Calabrese Art Studio;
Sculptor and turner Manuel Carrión, originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, has been recognized by American Construction Design and Solution for a quarter century of construction excellence;
Marina Gulevich, Fulton High School honor student;
Min Manresa was born in Equatorial Guinea. He is a versatile artist in the fields of sculpture, animation, graphic design and circus arts.
Hee, South Korean-born Park, whose solo photography exhibitions have spread throughout the world, is also a gifted pianist;
sculptor Héctor Saldívar, originally from Mexico City, is now a regular speaker at HoLa Hora Latina and the Tennessee Art Commission;
and Indian multidisciplinary artist Ruchi Singh, who is pursuing an MFA at the University of Texas.
Bringing together this group of multinational artists was a community effort that included Dogwood Arts, Bridge Refugee Services, Centro Hispano, Fulton High School AP Studio Art and Advanced Art Classes, HoLa Hora Latina, Knoxville Internationals Network, Open Arts Knoxville, and The Maker. . Has. City.
The first reception was on March 3, the night of a severe electrical storm, and yet, as Almeida says, “it was wonderful, wonderful. We had a lot of people despite the storm."
A Knoxville-based photographer who uses art and storytelling as an advocacy tool, Baker is passionate about focusing on the voices of those who go unheard and promoting equality in the community.
Almeida, whose firm did most of the interior work for the Ancient Lore Village complex in South Knoxville, says she is very grateful to Baker for the opportunity to showcase the creations of non-native Knoxville residents who are now our neighbors and friends. showcase.
"That's the beauty: all these immigrants and refugees are united by art and love for each other. This is one of the many art fairs we can host. It will be an ongoing and growing friendship."
“This country has accepted us. The only thing we can do is refund! I think every one of our artists is very proud of that. I am so thankful for the dogwood arts festival that invited us.
Arnouk, who says he is fluent in three languages: "English, Arabic and art," agrees. "I believe that God gave us music and art so that we can communicate across language and cultural boundaries."
“Convergence: Connecting, Finding Balance” will run through April 14 at 123 W. Jackson Ave. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
This article originally appeared on the Knoxville News Sentinel: Local Immigrant and Refugee Artists Featured on the Converge Show.