Guest Post: Marilyn Montúfar Spotlights Migrant Youth

Marilyn Montúfar, Yaneyda, dimensions: 20”x20”, medium: archival pigment print .

Marilyn Montúfar is a recipient of our 2021 Art Projects grant and exhibited her photography at Gallery 4Culture in February 2018. Here, she shares how she’s putting her grant funds to work:

Hello, my name is Marilyn Montúfar, I’m a photographer, activist, and educator. I am a recipient of the 4Culture 2021 Art Projects grant for the project Migrant Youth–a photography project and educator collaboration, highlighting migrant youth in rural Washington. The photography series bridges my photography with youth writing. Since October 2020, the participating youth have committed to attending weekly remote meetings and have been mentored in writing, photography, and art collaborations. The youth are mentored in art by me, and in self-expression through writing by Underground Writing—a literature-based creative writing program.

The project began in 2020 as I listened to stories of how COVID-19 was disproportionately impacting farmworking communities. I reached out to a club in Skagit County that worked with migrant youth in the farmworking community. I pitched the idea of creating a photography and writing project that shares a story about identity, family, and coming of age during the pandemic from the perspective of migrant youth. At the time, the club was led by educator Marco Morales of Migrant Leaders Club and the students had previously worked with Underground Writing, successfully publishing their writing in two books. Since our initial meeting, the work we have collectively created through photography and youth writing has been exhibited in 2021 from west to east coast and showcased at locations such as the Jacob Lawrence Gallery in Seattle, Strange Paradise Gallery in Portland, OR, and more recently at the Chautauqua Visual Arts Gallery in Chautauqua, NY.

On Thursday, October 7, 2021, after one year of mentorship in the collaborative art and writing process, the youth will join me, Marco Morales, and Matt Malyon, Executive Director of Underground Writing in sharing their writing for their first artist talk during Latinx Heritage Month for the Mexican Consulate’s MEX-AM Festival. Please join us in celebrating their story, here and now.

RSVP on Eventbrite.

Marilyn Montúfar, Juli, dimensions: 36”x36”, medium: archival pigment print.