Michelle Angela Ortiz


Michelle Angela Ortiz will expand her Familias Separadas project to focus on the trauma caused to families by detention of undocumented mothers and children. The expanded project will seek to inspire in-depth conversations about the criminalization of Latino immigrant communities that feeds the deportation and mass incarceration system. Families (both inside and outside of detention centers) will be provided with a creative outlet to share their stories, reflect, and find ways to heal the trauma caused by detention. Through the installation of a series of temporary public artworks in various locations in Pennsylvania, Familias Separadas will create a platform to discuss the inhumane treatment of detained families and to further support the national fight to end family detention.

Bio: Michelle Angela Ortiz’s 15-year career as a visual artist/ skilled muralist/ community arts educator is dedicated to representing communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Through painting, printmaking, and community arts practices, she creates safe spaces to dialogue about some of the most critical issues marginalized communities and individuals face. Her storytelling work uses emotive, richly crafted imagery that claims and transforms “blighted” spaces into a visual affirmations revealing the spirit and resilience of community.  Ortiz has designed and created over 50 large-scale public works nationally (PA, NJ, MS, NY) and internationally. Since 2008, Ortiz has led public art projects focused on community-building and social change, both independently in Costa Rica and Ecuador and through the U.S. Embassy as a Cultural Envoy.




Michelle Ortiz Familias Separadas

Photo: Neal Santos