Morgen on November 13, 2009 at 7:30 am
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities presents an annual award – called the “Coming Up Taller” award – which recognizes a select number of local youth organizations for “fostering the creative and intellectual development of America’s children”. This year’s awards were presented by First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House ceremony on November 4. The recipients were each awarded $10,000, and included 15 organizations located throughout the country – and 4 international groups. As you would expect, the programs mostly focus on various types of arts programs for underprivileged youth – writing, poetry, theatre, graphic arts, etc.
However, one of the recipients based out of Chicago (of course) caught my attention:
Yollocalli Arts Reach, a youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art is an arts education and career-training program for teens and young adults. The Yollocalli model is based on creating a space for youth to partner with practicing artists; access the tools necessary to realize their own vision; and build skills as emerging artists. Located in the heart of Pilsen, Yollocalli is an open forum for experimentation in art-making based on issues in art, history, and youth culture.
Seems harmless enough. But take a look at the little “experimentation” these emerging artists worked on this past summer:
WE ARE A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS
NO INHUMANE TREATMENT, NO DEPORTATION, NO FAMILY SEPARATION, NO DETENTION
NO HUMAN BEING IS ILLEGAL
NATIONAL SECURITY IS USED TO FOSTER INTER ETHNIC TENSION
LEGALIZATION AHORA! (ed. “NOW!”)
Billed as the “Declaration of Immigration“, Yollocalli’s web site describes this mural as “a visual dedication to all immigrants and allies who have marched hundreds of thousands of miles to advocate for fair legislation for immigrants and who have stood strong in the face of anti-immigrant rhetoric”.
Fair legislation, huh? These are way, way beyond just pro-amnesty slogans. They should have saved themselves some time and effort and just painted “Open Borders for All” on the mural. Or perhaps even “Reconquista!” And the line about national security being used to “foster inter ethnic tension” is particularly choice in the after math of the Fort Hood tragedy.
But really, this award comes as no surprise. After all, this is a White House that co-opted the National Endowment of the Arts into promoting their healthcare reform agenda this past summer. Why wouldn’t they recognize a youth arts group for teeing up the coming immigration reform push? Just ask the First Lady:
That’s what these Coming Up Taller Awards are all about. You ask our young people to dream, and you give them the tools to fulfill those dreams. You affirm that their contributions are valuable, and their success matters to all of us.
Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what that purple/grey monstrosity is next to the “NO WALL” line. (Bigger picture here.) And I suspect I’ve missed some other interesting symbolism elsewhere in the mural.