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Mayor Walsh announces new exhibit in honor of Immigrant Heritage Month

June 8, 2017

Arts and Culture

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Arts and Culture

The photo exhibit on the 3rd floor lobby this June is called "The Faces of Syrian Refugees Exhibit at City Hall" 

Photo Exhibit on 3rd Floor Lobby this June for Immigrant Heritage Month

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, together with the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture and the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement, announced today a new exhibit on display at City Hall throughout the month of June in honor of Immigrant Heritage Month. The exhibit, The Faces of Syrian Refugees, profiles 20 Syrians who fled their war-torn homeland and have resettled in new countries in Europe and North America, and who are now in homes and building new lives.

"The Faces of Syrian Refugees exhibit is incredibly powerful, and humanizes the refugee crisis in a way that is thought-provoking and leaves a lasting impact," said Mayor Walsh. "I encourage everyone to come visit this exhibit over the course of Immigrant Heritage Month, and experience the story of each individual featured in the photos."

Since March 2011, over five million Syrians have been displaced from their homes. The exhibit consists of life-sized color portraits and personal interviews that offer intimate visits with Syrian refugees. The subjects come from all walks of life and now are engaged in a range of activities, from teaching art classes to serving as museum docents to conducting an orchestra.

The exhibit was produced by Michael Cohen, a Boston-based photographer who conceived the concept in early 2016. Working with Dr. Dana Janbek of Lasell College and Amy Bracken, a freelance journalist, they located and traveled to 20 different refugees to create the exhibit. 

"The premiere of The Faces Of Syrian Refugees in my hometown as the kickoff to Immigrant Heritage Month is a perfect way to begin the national tour of this exhibit," said Cohen. "Immigrants from all over the world have made their home in Boston and added greatly to our city. Syria needs our help right now, and it is important for us to see and meet them. This exhibit allows the visitor an up close and personal understanding of 20 refugees that are excited to introduce themselves to the US."

"Among its goals, the Boston Creates Cultural Plan looks to elevate how the arts can facilitate learning opportunities among diverse cultures," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "The Faces Of Syrian Refugees is a great example, demonstrating the power of the arts to teach, create dialogue and help us connect to one another. I encourage everyone to visit City Hall and view this exhibit."

"The Faces of Syrian Refugees connects us with the stories of people who have left their homeland very recently under dire circumstances," said Alejandra St. Guillen, Director of the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement. "During Immigrant Heritage Month, this exhibit will remind those who visit City Hall of their families' own stories of leaving their countries of origin to settle in the United States."

The exhibit will be on display on the mezzanine area of the 3rd Floor Lobby of City Hall from June 6- June 30, 2017.

A program and reception featuring the exhibit will be held at City Hall on June 20, 2017 to commemorate World Refugee Day. The event is free and open to the public, and all residents are encouraged to attend. For more information go to:

About Immigrant Heritage Month

Started in 2014 by, Immigrant Heritage Month honors the countless contributions made by immigrants to our communities, our economy, our culture, and our collective American identity each June. On behalf of Mayor Walsh, the Office for Immigrant Advancement coordinates events with city agencies and community partners in Boston throughout the month.

Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC)

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture's mission is to support artists, the cultural sector, and to promote access to the arts for all. The office houses the Boston Cultural Council, the Boston Art Commission, and the Poet Laureate program. Responsibilities include leading up the City's Cultural Plan, Boston Creates; managing the Boston Artist-in-Residence program (BostonAIR); curating exhibitions in City Hall; and operating the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester.  For more information go to:

Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement (MOIA)

The Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement works to ensure the full participation of immigrants within the civic, economic, social and cultural life of Boston. Every year, MOIA assists over 2,000 residents by connecting them to English language classes, helping them obtain citizenship application assistance, facilitating access to city services, and providing accurate information about immigration laws, which helps immigrants contribute socially and economically to the city. For more information go to: or call 617-635-2980.a