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Coming to America

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The lives, struggles, and humanity of people from every part of the world have come to the University of Memphis.

Their stories arrived with "Crossing the BLVD: Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America," a multi-media art exhibit originating from immigrants living in the New York City borough of Queens. The result of years of work by Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan, "Crossing the BLVD" captures the energy and personality of these new Americans.

"I find the show incredibly compelling," said Leslie Luebbers, director of the Art Museum at the U of M. "The show vividly presents portraits of people as thoughtful, funny, hopeful, durable beings who live in two cultures: the past and the rapidly changing present."

Brief stories and scenes of everyday life accompany portraits of the immigrants who now call New York City home. Headsets hang among the pictures, giving visitors a chance to hear these stories first-hand, and a mobile story booth allows them to contribute their own stories (or those of their families) to the collection. There is a touch screen database for deeper investigation.

On Saturday, September 8th, Lehrer and Sloan will bring "Crossing the BLVD" to life. Lehrer will serve as tour guide, while Sloan will take on the roles of immigrants and refugees.

"Crossing the BLVD" not only illustrates the trials of immigrants but also the cultures they bring with them.

"Crossing the BLVD: Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America" at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis through November 10th. Performance by Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan on the Main Stage in the Theatre & Communication Building, Saturday, September 8th, at 8 p.m. free.

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