The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








Jonathan Cruz. Becky Field photo.

“Our City — Manchester Through Children’s Eyes”

Where: Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester
When: June 22 through Aug. 25
Admission: Museum admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $9 for students, $5 for youth
Contact:,, 669-6144

Through the kids’ eyes
Gallery features artwork, photos of new Americans

By Kelly Sennott

 Eighteen portraits of Manchester’s newest Americans line the Currier’s community gallery, showcasing kids standing proudly on their front porches or in their favorite playgrounds. Some are clad in their Sunday best, while others are playing basketball or soccer. All look happy, content, even optimistic.

Currier Art Center Director Bruce McColl said during an interview at the gallery that the concept for the show, “Our City — Manchester Through Children’s Eyes,” came about after curators put together the museum’s most recent exhibition, “Urban Landscapes: Manchester and the Modern American City,” which contains a large section focused on the immigrant population that’s always been characteristic of the Queen City. 
“We thought … let’s cast a positive light on these children and their experiences as new Americans in Manchester, given our larger discourse about immigration in the United States. We wanted to show that these kids and their families have a positive role to play here,” McColl said.
For several years now, the museum has been partnering with the Inti Academy, which started in 2009 and offers free soccer programs for underprivileged Manchester youth, many of whom are refugees, immigrants, first- or second-generation Americans. Every quarter, Currier staff hold art lessons at the Saint Anne’s Center, where Inti kids meet each week.
“It’s a benefit for the children, even if they’re not the most talented artists. It’s a way for them to express themselves,” said Inti Academy Cofounder Max J. Latona.
Alongside the photos, the 18 students, ages 8 to 15, created projects during four-week art sessions focused on their identity and perception of Manchester. Their clay buildings of the city sit in a glass case, and their Romare Bearden-inspired collages of downtown Manchester hang along the walls; to them, the city is a place with cars, dog walkers, American flags and a skyline with buildings like Market Basket, Wal-Mart, the Victory Garage and “The Cool Hotel.” Beside the photos are essays the kids wrote about their backgrounds and favorite things about Manchester — like Sky Zone, soccer and pizza.
The photographer was Becky Field, who’s spent the past four years photographing new Americans and recently published a book, Different Roots, Common Dreams: New Hampshire’s Cultural Diversity. She met with these kids throughout spring and photographed them in places they felt most at home in the city.
“That’s one of the reasons they felt comfortable. I wanted them to show me their world so I could photograph them in it,” Field said via phone.
For some of the kids, it took a while; one boy was uncertain about being photographed but came around when he’d seen the others’ portraits. Another she photographed while he played soccer. 
“Part of the effect of a camera … [is that] it has the tendency to make people feel special. And I definitely got that with these young people,” Field said. 
Many of the kids were attending art camp while the show was being installed, and Corie Lyford, art educator and outreach coordinator with the museum, said their faces lit up when they saw their pieces. 
“The children as a whole are very optimistic about life in America,” Latona said. “We see them as underserved in many ways, not having all the advantages American-born children have, and they don’t see that. They’re very grateful for everything they have.” 
Field felt those vibes while she was photographing the children.
“These kids have the same dreams as every kid has at that age,” Field said. “Even though someone might have a different color skin or clothing, or whatever, we really are all pretty much the same.” 

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