In late March of this year Southeastern Massachusetts SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc. will turn 40 years old. To kick off our 40th Anniversary Year, on Saturday, March 23, 2019, 1-3pm, a collaborative photography exhibit, Through Our Eyes, will open at the Narrows Center for the Arts, at 16 Anawan Street, Fall River. The over thirty contributing photographers are all adult English-language learners from two of our ESOL classes. Over the past year, the students have been exploring the world around them through the lens of a camera and taking photographs of whatever struck them as important, interesting, or beautiful. Every week in their classes, they shared their photographs with one another, and in what often became quite animated discussions, explained the meanings, cultural traditions, and artistic visions behind their depictions. This exhibit is the culmination of the students’ efforts to use photography to tell stories about themselves and their communities, and to share those stories with wider audiences.
The themes of the Through Our Eyes exhibit reflect the students’ diverse interests and points of view, focusing on connections with family, friends, and traditions such as the making and sharing of food and the celebration of special events, and depicting the beauty of nature, neighborhoods throughout the city, or new ways to see details of daily life. A goal shared by all of the contributing photographers was to convey the important role the supportive educational space at SER-Jobs plays in their lives. Their captions and autobiographical accounts reveal hopes and dreams, and what it has been like to leave a homeland in order to make a new life for themselves and their children in the U.S.
The project was made possible by a generous grant from MassHumanities, as well as contributions from SER, the UMass Dartmouth Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, and by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at UMass, Dartmouth in the tireless work of Professor Andrea Klimt who worked closely with the teacher and the students to make this project a reality. The second phase of this project, which will entail public art installations of photographs throughout Fall River, from the Through Our Eyes collection, is supported by a Creative Commonwealth Grant from the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, and will take place in the fall.
Originally founded to improve the educational and employment outcomes of Portuguese immigrant families in Fall River, SER-Jobs currently serves residents of the greater Fall River area and other communities in Southeastern Massachusetts who come from diverse cultural backgrounds by offering a wide range of programs and services. Please join us in helping to celebrate our continuous commitment to our mission, to our partnerships within the community, and most importantly, to our clients and their aspirations.
There will be a brief speaking program and light refreshments. For planning purposes, please let us know if you can attend the opening on the 23rd by calling us at 508-676-1916 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org by March15th.
– Submitted by Maria Ferreira-Bedard, Executive Director