Grantee Cohort Spring 2020
Location Philadelphia, PA
Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist, community arts educator, and filmmaker who works to counter-narratives that criminalize immigrants and devalue the contributions of communities of color. For 20 years, Michelle has designed and created over 50 large-scale public artworks with communities nationally and globally. In 2013, she created the “Familias Separadas” project focused on amplifying the stories of families affected by detention and deportation. Her large scale public art installations have covered the streets of the ICE building in Philadelphia and the Capitol steps in Harrisburg, PA. Michelle created the “Las Madres de Berks” documentary which shares the testimonials of four mothers that were detained for two years with their children at The Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania, the country’s oldest prison for immigrant families seeking asylum.
With the support from Art for Justice, Michelle will develop phase 3 of the “Familias Separadas” project. Her work will expand nationally to five other communities in direct proximity to detention centers that are often not included in the national conversation on family separation and detention.