Monday, May 22, 2017

City of Holyoke to Celebrate National Immigrant Heritage Month

On Monday, June 5, from 6 – 8 p.m. the City of Holyoke will kick off a month-long celebration of the city’s immigrant populations, past and present, at the opening reception for The Art of Steven Huerta at Wistariahurst Museum. Huerta, a Holyoke-based artist, will present a show of works whose inspiration has been drawn from the experiences and stories of his family, who journeyed from Mexico to California. During the reception Mayor Morse will present citations for two honorees in the City who have made contributions to the community as immigrants and State Representative Aaron Vega will speak on the importance of Holyoke continuing to be a safe and welcoming community for all people. Live classical guitar music will be provided by Malgorzata Lach. The event is free and open to the public.

Former California native, Steven Huerta, made New England his home in 1996, and now resides in Holyoke, MA. From singing to the visual arts, Steven has fostered a spirit of discovery that he attributes to his Buddhist practice, and the never ending inspiration he derives from his friends, and the experiences he’s acquired in this lifetime. His work will be on view at Wistariahurst Sundays - Tuesdays, noon - 4 p.m., or by appointment throughout the month of June.

The event is the first in a series of public programs put together for the month of June to celebrate the history, personal stories, and contributions of immigrants to the City of Holyoke. “Holyoke is a city built and maintained by wave after wave of immigrants,” says Kate Preissler, Director of Wistariahurst. “Wistariahurst itself was built by an immigrant, William Skinner, who came to the United States in his twenties with very little and used his knowledge of silk dying to make his fortune. We’re excited to be able to spend a month sharing not only his story but the stories of so many others who have travelled from far to make Holyoke home.” Preceding June’s public programs, Wistariahurst will be hosting local elementary school students as part of their annual “Immigration Experience” immersive field trip program. Each year 200 – 300 students from the area participate in the program, which uses role play and hands-on activities to teach about the 19th century immigrant experience to the United States through Ellis Island.

Throughout the month of June individuals and organizations will be participating in the celebration of Holyoke’s immigrants with history talks, panel discussions, movie screenings, and more. The month will close out on Thursday, June 29th with a community gathering and picnic in the historic gardens of Wistariahurst to celebrate “All who make Holyoke home.” For more information visit the Wistariahurst website at

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