As you may recall, the photograph by our communications director Phil Roeder was displayed at the Aperture Foundation gallery in New York City this summer. The photo was taken at an event for new immigrant and refugee families organized by our English Language Learner staff.
That image is now in California where it is part of the 2017 International Juried Exhibition at the Center for Photographic Art. The photo is one of just 45 on display from more than 2,000 that were considered. And this past weekend the National Gallery of Art curator who organized the exhibit presented Roeder’s photo with an Honorable Mention award, making it one of the top 8 images in the show.
Roeder was humble in accepting the award and immediately turned the attention to the immigrants and refugees arriving in Des Moines. He was inspired by the work it takes not only to get to the United States, but the next, and maybe even more difficult step of adjusting to life in a new home.
“There are many photos of displaced peoples around the world fighting to make their way to a new country and a new life,” Roeder said. “I wanted a photo that captured what happens when immigrants arrive in their new homeland, and the tremendous effort it takes to acclimate to a whole new way of life.”
Nearly 21% of DMPS students and their families are English Language Learners. In addition to events and workshops for new immigrants, DMPS recently established the “Center for New Americans” at the Walnut Street building downtown.