March 5 thru April 24, 2016 — “Nuestras Abuelas de Holyoke: Empoderamiento y Legado/ Our Grandmothers of Holyoke: Empowerment and Legacy”
Wistariahurst Museum, 238 Cabot St., Holyoke
During the months of March and April, Wistariahurst will be hosting a new exhibit in its gallery – Nuestras Abuelas de Holyoke: Empoderamiento y Legado/ Our Grandmothers of Holyoke: Empowerment and Legacy. This exhibit of photographs and bi-lingual text, curated by Waleska Santiago, Curator and Museum Educator, narrates stories of women in general, and Latinas in particular. It draws attention to concepts of family, challenges faced by grandmothers raising their families, gender expectations, and the connections between grandmothers and their adult grandchildren who reside in Holyoke.
Santiago relates, “This exhibition enables me to combine the universal language of photography with text, as educational tools to engage new museum audiences in conversations based on real historical witnesses and personal experiences, rather than on stereotypes or generalizations. It is stimulating, professionally and personally, to participate in the recovery and sharing of a community’s intergenerational memories.”
Assisting Santiago in outreach to the community are Maria Cartagena and Nelson Roman, both active in Holyoke. Nelson, also a participant, shares that “For me, being a Puerto Rican Catholic male, there was no greater influence in my life than mi Abuelita (my grandmother). The Nuestras Abuelas project has allowed me to honor her legacy, and connect with other Latinos in Holyoke in a meaningful and substantive way. The interconnecting thread between all of us participants has been the sense of pride and respect within our Latino community around our elders. I have seen in such a profound way the vulnerability and openness of Latino men, specifically, in this community who want to honor their abuelas with this exhibit. This is truly a gift. The community and I are grateful to Wistariahurst Museum for allowing this type of programming to come to fruition!”
The exhibit will run from March 5 through and April 24. Gallery viewing hours are Thursday and Friday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from Noon to 4 p.m. with Thursday evenings free admission. An opening reception is planned for Saturday March 5 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (with a snow date of Saturday, March 12). Visitors can chat with the curator, participants and scholars, and enjoy light refreshments at the opening event. If visitors bring their Abuela and are inspired, they can make use of recording equipment at the museum to capture a story of their own special relationship.
Nuestras Abuelas – Our Grandmothers fits in with the on-going efforts of Wistariahurst as a 21st century museum to empower our community by providing ongoing meaningful engagement with history and art, and to uncover, preserve and share the stories of Holyoke residents, past and present. “We can learn so much by listening to each other,” says Kate Preissler Director of Wistariahurst. Following the show’s run, the exhibit materials will be added in to the Carlos Vega Collection of Latino History in Holyoke for future reference and research.
Admission to the Gallery and the House is $5. For more information or to view a schedule of other upcoming events, please visit our website athttp://www.wistariahurst.org.
Nuestras Abuelas – Our Grandmothers is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding is from Historic Holyoke at Wistariahurst and the Pioneer Valley History Network’s ‘Herencia Latina Project’ supporting public programming in response to ALA/NEH’s 500 Years of Latino History.