“The number is significant in that it reflects the official United Nations [High] Commissioner for Refugees number of 21.3 million refugees worldwide,” he said. “[It’s] one figure per 1,000,000 refugees. And that was in 2016. Now the numbers a little higher, but we’ve kept the figures at 22.”

“Migration has been a part of human history since the beginning,” said artist Ann Hirsch. “We move. We’re always on the move, and sometimes we’re on the move because we need to be; because we are danger.”

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – There is an ArtPrize installation piece in the Grand River that represents the refugee crisis.

The piece is called SOS, or Safety Orange Swimmers, and it makes a connection between the Grand River and all the rivers and seas that people have crossed in search of safety and shelter.

A+J Art and Design, a collaborative team based in Boston, are one of the recipients of the ArtPrize Featured Public Projects grants this year. Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier’s project will be one of two entries in the Grand River. As a way to highlight some of the stories behind the development of the dozens of projects that received grants this year, I decided to mail a small questionnaire to artists that we could then publish on the ArtPrize Blog. Ann and Jeremy responded by asking if we could have a longer conversation about their work and the shifting realities of immigration, which their work explores, as well as the political forces challenging the country — and even ArtPrize itself. I happily agreed.

For context, it’s relevant to note that we spoke on September 6, 2017, the day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA would be rescinded, and in between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Boston Centers for Youth & Families, and the Boston Art Commission today announced the successful completion of projects created by the 10 artists selected for the City of Boston’s artist-in-residence program, Boston AIR. These projects represent varying arts disciplines, from printmaking to sculpting and more, and builds on the Mayor’s commitment to implementing Boston Creates, the City’s cultural plan.

More on Ann Hirsch’s project here

SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) was honored by  program. Public Art Network which is the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. More information.