Panel Discussion for Acting On Dreams

Program Date: July 11, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Franklin Street Works is proud to present a panel discussion in conjunction with the current exhibition, “Acting on Dreams: The State of Immigrant Rights, Conditions, and Advocacy in the United States,” The exhibition, which is curated by Yaelle S. Amir, is on view through August 30.  This free, public panel takes place at Franklin Street Works on Saturday, July 11th at 5:00pm.

In line with the work included in the exhibition, the panel discussion will present creative responses to immigrant rights and conditions in the United States. Panel discussion speakers include curator Yaelle S. Amir; exhibiting artists Camilo Godoy, Marisa Jahn, and Jenny Polak; and Coordinating Committee Member of Connecticut Students for a Dream, Danilo Machado. Facilitated by the exhibition’s curator, three of the artists – Camilo Godoy, Marisa Morán Jahn, and Jenny Polak – will discuss the motivations, process, and aims of their projects, and Danilo Machado will present his work with the organization Connecticut Students for a Dream. Using these projects as a platform, the discussion will also focus more generally on creative tactics in advocacy work, the nature of community collaboration, the complex nature of activist initiatives, and more.

This exhibition is sponsored, in part, by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.

ABOUT THE PANELISTS

Yaelle Amir (b. Haifa, Israel) is an independent curator and researcher. She currently holds the position of Curator at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR. Amir’s writing and curatorial projects focus primarily on artists whose practices supplement the initiatives of existing social movements—rendering themes within those struggles in ways that both interrogate and promote these issues to a wider audience. She has curated exhibitions at Artists Space, CUE Art Foundation, Center for Book Arts, ISE Cultural Foundation, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Marginal Utility, and the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University, among others.

Camilo Godoy (b. Bogotá, Colombia) is an artist/activist currently pursuing a BFA in Photography at Parsons The New School for Design and a BA in Education Studies at Eugene Lang College at The New School for Liberal Arts. Godoy’s academic research and practice focuses on the opposition of detention and the heteronormative policies and practices that seduce us to participate in the logics of hegemonic nationalist projects. In 2015, Camilo led a series of summer art workshops held in Newark, NJ for children affected by the detention and/or deportation of their relatives, aimed at providing a meaningful encounter between the children’s creative endeavor and their immigrant experiences. Camilo is also an organizer of QUEEROCRACY, a recently formed queer grassroots activist organization interested in using direct action and creative tactics to fight for social justice.

Marisa Jahn (b. ) is an artist, multimedia designer, educator, and the founder of Studio REV-, a nonprofit studio whose public art projects combine creativity, bold ideas, and sound research to impact the lives of low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and youth. A graduate of UC Berkeley and MIT, Jahn has recieved numerous awards and distinctions including a CEC Artslink Fellow; a 2007-9 artist in residence at MIT’s Media Lab; and a 2013 MIT Open Doc Fellow. Jahn and Studio REV- have received several grants including The Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund, apexart’s Franchise Art award, Open Society Foundation, and Tribeca New Media Fund grant for interactive media. She is also an Advisor of NuLawLab, a design+law initiative of Northeastern University’s School of Law. Through collaborations with communities and organizational hosts, Jahn’s work function doubly as art and tool through public participation in the creation of new narratives and myths.  

Danilo Machado (b. Medellín, Colombia) is currently an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut-Stamford, studying English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and serves as a member of the Coordinating Committee of Connecticut Students for a Dream, a statewide network of undocumented youth and allies. He is passionate about intersectional organizing and political education, particularly around queer and undocumented identities. He has conducted numerous trainings and workshops, as well as written reports and Op-Eds on the intersections of these very personal identities, including publications in The Advocate and The Hartford Courant. Besides social justice work, Danilo is passionate about poetry, design, and having one more cup of coffee.

Jenny Polak (b. ) is an artist whose work simulates ways for people to survive hostile authorities. Polak’s family history of hiding and migration fuels her preoccupation with negotiations in the dangerous spaces of transition. She records and invents citizen/non-citizen collaborations and accommodations, often using the languages of architecture and design to reposition emergencies as part of the everyday. Coming from a background in both art and architecture, Polak’s projects are often site/community responsive; these include site-specific projects at the Griffiths International Sculpture Garden, Rome, NY; Exit Art, NYC; The Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn; and Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN. Her work has been discussed in books and publications including The New York Times, The Newark Star-Ledger, The Guardian (UK), Brooklyn Rail, and Bad at Sports.


The programs at Franklin Street Works are explorations of creative projects that inspire contemporary art enthusiasts to come together in conversation.

Exhibition Programming

Exhibition programming expands on the art space’s original shows through a closer look at the art on view, stimulating conversations surrounding the exhibition’s theme. For our exhibition programming, Franklin Street Works connects communities with artists, curators, and innovative cultural producers via free public workshops, performances, and talks. These efforts elucidate each exhibition by going more deeply into its intentions and adding discursive content through educational and social interactions.

Exhibition programs include artists’ presentations, tours, performances, and hands on activities, such as artist Emily Larned’s book binding workshop. Notable participatory performances include Trisha Baga’s “The Garden Party” — where the public joined in the artist’s parade from Franklin Street Works to the Landmark Square building in Downtown Stamford, Connecticut; and David Horvitz’s “Honey Locust Tree Relocation” project where participants from Connecticut and New York carried more than thirty Honey Locust tree saplings from Clocktower Gallery in New York City to their new home at Franklin Street Works. Generative, cross-disciplinary programs are another way Franklin Street Works explores the relevance of contemporary art, such as the 2013 exhibition-inspired poetry reading and zine featuring texts by UConn, Stamford, writing students.

Ongoing Programming

The ongoing programs at Franklin Street Works are community-building events that show the breadth of cultural production in and around Fairfield County. For our ongoing programming, Franklin Street Works has featured VJs, musicians, novelists, DJs, website designers, artists, writers, and filmmakers from the region in one-night events that showcase their efforts at different phases of development. In-progress programs include events such as artist Renee Kahn workshopping a new, immersive installation and receiving audience feedback. Finished projects have included Kent Evans’ performance using text from his published book and a talk by two website designers about their online projects.

Emily Larned’s book binding workshop

The Garden Party with Trisha Baga

Honey Locust Tree Relocation

UConn reading