By Paul DiMaggio, Professor Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Professor Gilberto Cârdenas, Professor Yen Le Espiritu, Professor Amaney Jamal, Professor Sunaina Maira, Professor Douglas Massey, Professor Cecilia Menjivar, Professor Clifford Murphy, Professor Terry Re
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Extra resources for Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States
7 This survey of approximately six hundred respondents between the ages of eighteen and eighty-three was intended to examine the connections between residents’ involvement in informal social and cultural activities (for example, singing alone or socially) and their participation in institutional cultural programs (for example, attending musicals or plays). Overall, the research identified a significant gap between the two. Respondents had active social and cultural lives that were focused on private homes and commercial cultural venues like bars and nightclubs but relatively little involvement in the cultural programs of formal nonprofits.
In one garden, they have built a replica of a rural home (casita) from 1940s Puerto Rico, furnished with objects from that era—a museum of cultural heritage. In another garden, they have built a symbolic African village with stucco huts, an outdoor kitchen, rows of vegetables native to Africa, and a storytelling room. Despite international recognition by environmental and women’s groups, Grupo Motivos remains a grassroots organization for which issues of women’s rights, cultural preservation, and social justice remain painfully relevant.
Research of the kind presented here is as critical for understanding the arts in America as it is for understanding immigration. Without appreciating both the art forms that the United States’ newest residents have contributed and the ways in which immigrants adapt and transform art forms they encounter here, we can only reach a stylized and imperfect understanding. The tools that social scientists and policy analysts have ordinarily used to characterize the arts in the United States are ill equipped to apprehend the aesthetic expressions of the newest Americans and their influence on the broader society.
Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States by Paul DiMaggio, Professor Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Professor Gilberto Cârdenas, Professor Yen Le Espiritu, Professor Amaney Jamal, Professor Sunaina Maira, Professor Douglas Massey, Professor Cecilia Menjivar, Professor Clifford Murphy, Professor Terry Re