Digital exhibit celebrates National Immigrants’ Day through online portrait gallery

A report by Adrianna Hargrove for NBC 12.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) announced the publishment of a new digital exhibit celebrating National Immigrants’ Day on Oct. 28.

The exhibit is titled, ‘Portraits of Immigrant Voices’ on RVAStrong’s website.

OMA brings this celebration to the City of Richmond to highlight the city’s cultural diversity and the variety of languages spoken. The stories shed light on the challenges of migration and displacement as well as the commonalities of learning to speak English and acculturating to America.

Artist Alfonso Pérez painted each portrait and writer Joe Kutchera interviewed the subjects and wrote the life story that accompanies each portrait.

Alfonso Pérez Acosta is a Colombian artist and muralist who serves as the Art Program Director at Sacred Heart Center as well as the Co-Director of the ARCA project (Art, Reconciliation and Civic Advocacy) with RVA Thrives, bridging African American and Latin American youth through public art.

OMA will publish three portraits the first day and will continue to publish one portrait every weekday through Thanksgiving.

“We are excited to launch this art and storytelling initiative to tell the stories of 24 immigrants who have come to Richmond from around the world,” Karla Almendarez-Ramos, the Manager of the Office of Multicultural Affairs said. “Not only do these stories exemplify the diversity of immigrant experiences in our city, but they humanize OMA’s mission: to create equitable opportunities for all residents across the City of Richmond by overcoming cultural and language barriers.”

“There’s no one story of Richmond, and that’s what makes our city vibrant,” Mayor Stoney said. “I’m so proud of the work of OMA and grateful we’ve been able to partner with such talented local creatives to give all of us a more complete understanding of the experiences of our neighbors.”

Virginia Humanities and the City of Richmond’s Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) have funded the project.

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