Celia, Stacey, and Sydney at Our Lady of Guadalupe Center

Lead Deviser: Celia Martínez-Sáez is a PhD candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at The Ohio State University where she studies Latin American and Iberian Studies. She is particularly intrigued by representations of race and gender in contemporary Spanish cinema and television. When she is not studying, Celia enjoys movies, cooking, dancing, and partaking in live theater.

Co-Deviser: Stacey Alex taught middle and high school Spanish and English as a Second language in West Liberty, Iowa and Maracaibo, Venezuela. She is currently a Latina/o Studies and Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies doctoral student at Ohio State. Through a GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) fellowship, she researches pedagogy and helps to develop curriculum for Spanish as a heritage language. Her dissertation analyzes how the experiences of undocumented Latinx immigrants, represented across a variety of narrative forms including testimonio, memoir, theatre, and comics, share the potential to contest the apolitical inclusion of Latinx voices in educational contexts.

Co-Deviser: Sydney Varajon holds an MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University, and is currently a PhD student in Folklore and English at the Ohio State University. She has worked on various oral history and cultural resource documentation projects in southern Appalachian regions of Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as in newcomer communities in Columbus, Ohio. Her current research explores the intersections of material culture, place studies, narrative, and cultural policy.

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Building on previous community outreach work begun by Ohio State’s Spanish and Portuguese department, Be the Street began working with Our Lady of Guadalupe Center in 2017. Celia explains the workshops with this group have been, “dealing with themes such as loss, nostalgia, the making of a new home outside of your home country, and the happiness of finding a new family there. (…) We all have a different idea of what theater and performance art is supposed to look like or be. But what I have learned in my work is to trust the process, using the amazing tools that the Albany Park Theater Project taught us. And to just listen to what the participants have to express.”

Community Partner: Our Lady of Guadalupe Center (409 Industry Drive, Columbus, OH 43204) In their own words: “At the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center in west Columbus, we have created a haven for the growing Hispanic community. The Center is acting as a trampoline for Hispanic families, who want a better life for themselves and their families, by providing food and emergency assistance, health screenings, nutrition and English classes, legal consultations, and referrals to a number of our community partners.” (http://www.colscss.org/our-lady-of-guadalupe-center/)

Workshop photos by Víctor Espinosa. Post created by Josh Truett.