Hope Welcomes Refugees in a New Mural at Sea-Tac Airport's International Arrivals Gate
This month, Students Rebuild partnered with the Port of Seattle and Alaska Airlines to unveil a mural at Gina Marie Lindsey Arrivals Hall in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to celebrate the culmination of the Welcoming Refugees Project. The mural, designed by Seattle-based artist Blanca Santander, recognizes Students Rebuild’s young participants who turned art into action to raise funds for organizations providing humanitarian relief around the world, and includes postcards created by students in the Seattle area who participated in the Welcoming Refugees Project.
The mural – depicting a young girl‘s journey to find her new home – is inspired by Santander’s own experience immigrating to Seattle in 1996 to escape terrorism in her country. In her new home, Santander was able to re-establish her career as an artist, exhibiting her art in various venues and acting several times as a curator for the Latino art community. She also served as an artist-in-residence in different schools across the city, and worked with the City of Seattle on several projects involving teaching and public art.
“I hope the mural welcomes children to Seattle, to show that the immigrant experience can be joyful and hopeful,” said Santander.
The young girl depicted in the mural is a reflection of the immigrant journey, one that celebrates the strength and courage of those who leave their home countries and must navigate between their two worlds. Its placement in SEA serves as a reminder to all those who visit Seattle that they belong.
“SEA Airport is honored to be the home of this new temporary mural, and its placement at the exit of our International Arrivals Facility reinforces our belief that all are welcome at our facilities and in our community,” said Lance Lyttle, managing director of the SEA Airport. “We’d like to thank all of the partners involved and Blanca Santander for creating this beautiful piece.”
This year, Students Rebuild introduced the Welcoming Refugees Project to support organizations working with displaced families. Youth from more than 50 countries created postcards for refugee aid. For every piece of art submitted through the Welcoming Refugees Project, the Bezos Family Foundation funds organizations providing humanitarian relief around the world, including UNICEF, Choose Love, Welcoming America, World Savvy and Little Amal. As of the final day of the project, nearly 200,000 postcards have been submitted to the Students Rebuild Welcoming Refugees Project, with 2,773 global teams participating
“We’re overwhelmed by the support shown by Students Rebuild participants all over the world,” said Students Rebuild Managing Consultant Alex Manuel. “Teachers and students took action through art to show displaced families that they are welcome and embraced by their neighbors. This year’s Welcoming Refugees Project reinforced that together, we can act to make a difference in the lives of those around us.”
Highlights from the event and the mural are included below: