For more than four decades, Gloucester nonprofit Wellspring House has been helping struggling individuals and families – locals, newcomers, immigrants, and refugees alike – find their footing and move forward. This weekend, the organization will honor the diverse stories of its clients with Voices of Belonging: Immigration Stories in Light & Sound, an immersive light-and-sound public art exhibition on the Gloucester waterfront.
Wellspring has partnered with Stephanie Terelak Benenson, a sound, light, and social impact artist who founded Harbor Voices Public Art in 2017. Harbor Voices is dedicated to the mission of collecting immigration and origin stories, both ancestral and recent, and incorporating them into public art experiences that can generate reflection, connection, empathy, and action.
To reflect the impact Wellspring has had, Benenson worked with the organization to create an installation featuring the stories of more than 100 global and recent immigrants to Gloucester, from ages 6 to 86. The exhibit will be staged in an empty warehouse on Gloucester’s historic working waterfront.
The installation will debut on May 6, with an opening night fundraiser party from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 and are available online. On May 7, the exhibit will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admissions is free but visitors are highly encouraged to books a timed ticket in advance. Adults and children alike are welcome to the family-friendly event.
Wellspring House was started in 1981 to provide for homeless families. Housed in a 17th-century former inn, the organization provided shelter and helped families get back on their feet. As time went on, the organization expanded both its facility and its mission to include education and job training – services that could help clients become more financially stable.