IRIS Collective (Initiative for Refugee and Immigrant Stories) is a Boston-based arts initiative dedicated to the celebration, awareness, and activism of refugees, immigrants, and other displaced persons. Through storytelling accompanied by music, dance, and other forms of visual/performance art, IRIS raises awareness of these individuals and their diverse experiences. Our organization aims to build a community that fosters cross-cultural understanding, promotes inclusion across all disciplines, and spreads joy, all while raising funds to assist like-minded organizations.
IRIS is proud to be sponsored by Nine Athens Music.
The idea for IRIS was developed in 2018 by musician and artist Adam Gurczak. It was inspired by a school project that he co-created together with fellow classmates: a group of student musicians partnered with a resident from an elderly housing facility to create a performance formed through collaboration and social outreach. The group spoke to the resident, learned her story, and set it to music, culminating in a performance for all of the residents. This motivated the basis of IRIS, together with his personal experience coming from an immigrant household and a desire to use art for social change.
We are all a united people with vastly different backgrounds, and we can all learn from the stories of those different from ourselves. With our current political climate, it is more important than ever that we are able to see refugees, immigrants, and other displaced persons as individuals with unique stories and not just a generalized set of people. We hear stories of incredible struggle, inspiring success, and cultural/social complexity, and one of the simplest things our society can do is listen. So come listen, watch, and experience; step into another person’s shoes and walk away understanding our world just a little bit better.