Students gain a glimpse of ‘Visión’

Grace Sgambettera
Staff Writer

Students ponder the 'Life Behind the Scenes' exhibit located in the Dwight Marvin Library Atrium. PHOTO BY GRACE SGAMBETTERA | The Hudsonian Student Newspaper

Students ponder the ‘Life Behind the Scenes’ exhibit located in the Dwight Marvin Library Atrium.

“Visión: A Look At Life Behind the Scenes” is an annual photography project exhibit now on display in the Troy Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Atrium of the Marvin Library. It showcases the everyday lives of Latino immigrants working at the Saratoga Race Track.

“We hope everyone will come in to enjoy the work and consider it through whatever perspective they want — political, artistic or even educational,” said Library Director Brenda Hazard.
The project and exhibit is run by the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council’s Latino Community Advocacy Program, where members of the Latino community are invited to participate in a series of photography workshops.

Hudson Valley’s library is always looking to shed light on local issues in the exhibits they host, and Hazard feels that this exhibit in particular is very timely.
“There’s tremendous discussion of immigrants right now, especially in Saratoga because of [the] track,” Hazard said.

Historically, Latino immigrants have been an integral part of the Saratoga Race Course’s workforce, but they often feel unwelcome in the community. During this past summer, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement cracked down on undocumented workers in Saratoga and arrested a total of 27 people.

This photography project is designed to give the local Latino immigrant community a platform for their own commentary about life in Saratoga Springs. Some of the photographs are more stylized. There is a photo of a man’s bare back, with the words “Proud to be an Immigrant” painted on it, which was taken by Ana Karen Cruz. Others are more natural, including shots of the Saratoga Race Course or people simply living their lives.

Participants of the Latino Community Advocacy Program are given the “opportunity to document their experiences of living and working in the Saratoga Springs area and provide unique insight into a world that is largely inaccessible to the greater community,” Hazard said.
The library has a long history of hosting traveling exhibits in its art space. It is a popular location for exhibits like this one because of the number of students and faculty who visit in a single day.

Before this year’s “Visión” exhibit was displayed at Hudson Valley, the participants met once a week over the summer to develop their work, aided by the mentorship of a professional photographer. At the end of the workshop series, the participants chose their best photos and a team of photographers and art professionals judged their work and helped put the final exhibit together.

The exhibit is revealed each year at a fundraiser reception in Saratoga to benefit the Latino Community Advocacy Program, which provides services like ESL classes, interpreters, emergency help and cultural events to Saratoga’s Latino population. The photos then travel around the Capital Region for the year to raise awareness and share with other members of the community.
No matter how students interpret this exhibit, “everyone is welcome to leave their reflections,” Hazard said.

“Visón: A Look At Life Behind the Scenes” will be on display in the library atrium during regular hours until Nov. 2. For more information visit: http://www.hvcc.edu/learning-commons/atrium.html.

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