Installations: Welcome to America


Welcome to America documents the long arduous journey made by many courageous women. Each garment carried the name, date of arrival, place of origin and a short essay capturing an essence or moment in the life acknowledged; much like a photograph. There are 150 garments in the entire installation telling two hundred “stories.” One of the “dresses” is kept blank acknowledging all the untold “stories.” The narratives (dating from 1892 to 1992) bear similarity to experiences shared by all; despite economic status, ethnicity or even gender. Welcome to America was created to honor, acknowledge, respect and thank the brave souls who took their hearts in their hands and made the difficult voyage to America.

The “dress” has become a vehicle for me to tell the stories of women who (until now) have had small voices. Special “editions” of Welcome to America were created and are now in the permanent collections of the following venues:

  • The Eldridge Street Project/New York – 18 “dresses” telling 25 stories of the women who were among the original congregants of the Eldridge Street Synagogue.
  • The Lower East Side Tenement Museum/New York – 30 “garments” with information about 50 of the women who were among the original tenants of this historic landmarked building.
  • The Frauen Museum/Bonn, Germany – 10 “frocks” telling stories of women who emigrated from Germany to America (1892-1962).

A 45-minute video with 30 women telling their stories of emigration is available as a companion piece to the installation, Welcome to America.