New Lives/New England

New Lives/New England

A Showcase of Traditional Art by New Americans

New Lives/New England is a touring exhibition that features the work of New American traditional artists in Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont—Bosnian rug weavers, Somali Bantu musicians, Karen Burmese textile weavers whose artistry is an emblem of identity that bridges state boundaries and links communities in diaspora.

Weaving is often used as a metaphor for life, each experience a thread, which added to others creates something greater than its parts. Weaving a rug, applying henna at a wedding, or playing a drum at a community celebration, these traditions and their longtime practitioners remind people of who they are and where they came from, helping to create new lives out of whole cloth.

New Lives/New England explores the role traditional arts play in helping newcomers create a new home in New England. Central to the exhibit is the idea that continuing to practice familiar artistic traditions, as well as sharing them with new neighbors, is an important part of the acculturation process, especially as people negotiate and shape new roles and identities.

The exhibit brings together text, handcrafted textiles and objects, video, and photographs to explore the stories of these artists and their communities through the lens of traditional arts. On display through February 8, the exhibit will then tour to Hartford, Connecticut, and Lewiston, Maine.

New Lives/New England is a collaboration among Cultural Resources in Rockport, Maine, The Vermont Folklife Center and the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program at the Institute for Community Research.

The exhibit is generously supported through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts ProgramAurora Foundation for Women and Girls, Inc.Connecticut Office of the Arts,Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Maine Community Foundation,Expansion Arts Fund,the Quimby Family Foundation and the Vermont Arts Council.


Links to Additional Exhibit Resources

To learn more about New American communities in Vermont please visit the following Web sites:

Service Organizations and Programs

Association of Africans Living in Vermont
Somali Bantu Community Association of Vermont
Sudan Development Foundation
Tibetan Association of Vermont
Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program
Vermont Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program

Performance Groups

Bosnian Lilies 
Diversity Rocks International Youth Group


A2VT "Winooski My Town" video
Burundian community celebration
Walinja recording session at St. Michael's College