Chalice Abbey’s ‘Dreams’ exhibit highlights experience of immigrant children

Amarillo will soon have the rare chance to look at life in the Texas Panhandle through the eyes of young immigrants.

 

Chalice Abbey Center for Spirituality and the Arts is hosting “Dreams,” an exhibit of artwork and poetry by students in Tascosa High School’s English as a Second Language classes. A reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday kicks off the exhibit, which runs through August 4 at Chalice Abbey, 2717 Stanley St.

“We have a large refugee and immigrant population in Amarillo,” said Stephanie Jung, a member of the Chalice Abbey art committee. “It’s a great opportunity to address ideas and themes that don’t come up in everyday conversation.”

This is the second time artwork by Tascosa ESL students has been hosted by Chalice Abbey, which offers a meeting space and an emporium gift shop that focuses on fair trade. The exhibit last year also gave young immigrants the chance to express their feelings and hopes for the future.

“Through their powerful artwork, we saw how difficult the experiences of these students have been,” Jung said. “The resilience of these young people and their willingness to address where they are in life is very moving.”

Ande Parlow has been teaching ESL classes at Tascosa High School for eight years. She and colleague Josh Roberts help 80 to 85 students learn the language and acclimate to life in the U.S. each year. The students come to Amarillo from countries across the globe, including Myanmar, Cuba, Mexico, the Congo, the Middle East, Thailand, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan.

Many of the students have relocated as refugees, escaping violence and war.

Parlow said her students are excited about the exhibit and the chance to tell their stories. Many will be at the opening reception, eager to try out their new language and share their stories with others.

“The exhibit gives people a better idea of what it’s like to be an immigrant in the U.S. today, in this political climate,” Parlow said.

The exhibit is in keeping with the mission of Chalice Abbey. Founded five years ago, the center opened with a focus on supporting the world community by promoting fair trade and offering ways for people to express themselves spiritually and artistically.

The gift shop includes special items from different parts of the planet, and Jung hopes that visitors will appreciate the beauty of the creations found within the shop.

It isn’t about having the cheapest price, she said. It is about connecting humans to humans across the planet.

“We really want to encourage people to think about the impact of fair trade,” she said. “It is a way to directly help artisans in other parts of the world.”

How to go

What: Opening reception for the exhibit “Dreams,” including art and poetry by young Amarillo immigrants

Where: Chalice Abbey Center for Spirituality and the Arts, 2717 Stanley St., suite A

When: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday

Information: 806-576-2480 or chaliceabbey.org

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