Wellspring and Sawyer Free Library Celebrate Cape Ann’s Immigrant Community at Gloucester Heritage Festival
Earlier this month, Wellspring and the Sawyer Free Library came together to celebrate the Cape Ann Immigrants Photo Exhibit at Gloucester’s Cultural Heritage Festival. Held as part of the Gloucester 400+ year-long celebration, the Cultural Heritage Festival showcased the diverse cultural history of Gloucester through food, music and dance performances, collaborative community booth exhibits and art projects.
The Cape Ann Immigrants Photos Exhibit features photos of individuals and families who have emigrated to Gloucester and other area towns with the goals of improving their lives and making their home in the Cape Ann community. The photos display the faces of individuals and families who worked with tutors and instructors from Wellspring’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program to grow their English-speaking skills and capture their compelling stories of perseverance and resilience as they create new futures here in the Unites States.
“It was cool to witness that… Seeing two humans connect, even though briefly—that would most likely never connect in that way without an event like that being held—was very satisfying.”
Held at Gloucester’s Stage Fort Park, dozens of festival attendees stopped by to view the exhibit, including several individuals featured in the photos. Seham made stuffed Syrian grape leaves for attendees to try, and Humberto and Yoselin were onsite to speak with festival attendees. One of Wellspring’s current ESOL students also performed in a capoeira demonstration, a form of Brazilian martial arts.
With interactive activities happening across the park, youngsters in attendance also got in on the fun, as they created and colored flags representing countries of origin. Wellspring ESOL Outreach Representative and HiSet Proctor Tabitha Glenn playfully quizzed two fourth grade students on their flags, with one of them struggling to remember the name “Uruguay.” The student created the trick phrase “You are Gray!” to help her remember.
In one of her most memorable moments of the day, Tabitha was moved at the opportunity to introduce Wellspring ESOL student Humberto to Gloucester Mayor Greg Verga, who shook hands. “It was cool to witness that… Seeing two humans connect, even though briefly—that would most likely never connect in that way without an event like that being held—was very satisfying,” she said.