Youth Art Team has been working on a book all year! You can preorder it now! (Books will arrive in time for Christmas.) When Kamyar Enshayan approached the Youth Art Team to collaborate, the idea to explore the meaning of the word “citizenship” seemed spot on. He had been reflecting on his own work during the past four decades and asking: Is citizenship about the piece of paper? Or is it something more?
Youth Art Team artists discussed ideas with Kamyar and decided to host a potluck. They wrote letters inviting people who have come to Iowa from around the world to share their personal stories together over a meal. Some invitees were friends and family of the artists, and some were local neighbors they hadn’t yet met.
The artists continued to meet weekly, preparing questions and practicing for the interview before welcoming their guests. The seven people who accepted the invitation came to Iowa from six countries. Each prepared special food dishes to share and brought objects from home that helped tell their stories. When asked, “What makes you feel at home?” some consistent themes emerged: the land, the food, and the people.
Youth Art Team artists documented the interviews by recording stories, scribbling notes, and taking photographs – thankfully, because it turned out that the potluck was the last time the artists were together before the coronavirus outbreak.
All of the art in this book was created by eight artists ages 9-17 remotely, from their homes, during the pandemic. Youth Art Team staff and volunteers dropped off art materials and snack bags on porches and doorsteps.