Sanctuary City Project

Guest Curated by Thea Quiray Tagle

Vachon Gallery | October 24, 2019 - February 21, 2020


Vachon Gallery hosts Sanctuary Print Shop: Seattle, an immersive, participatory research and art exhibition
by Sergio De La Torre and Chris Treggiari’s Sanctuary City Project.

The Sanctuary Print Shop bridges art and community:
it is both a functioning print shop and an open space for engaging questions about immigrant rights. Visitors are invited to not simply take in the exhibition– comprised of prints, timelines and videos about sanctuary cities and immigration ordinances in the US– but to directly participate in silkscreen workshops and printmaking events, community conversations, and other public interventions held over the course of five months. In the tradition of printmaking for social justice, Sanctuary Print Shop: Seattle uses art and design as catalysts for shaping the future. All are welcome here.

Sanctuary Print Shop:
Seattle builds upon The Sanctuary City Project’s exhibitions in venues including The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; The Anchorage Museum’s SEED Lab Project; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. The Seattle print shop is curated by Thea Quiray Tagle and produced by Molly Mac.


Sanctuary City Project's Chris Treggiari and Sergio De La Torre


Sanctuary Print Shop: Seattle asks: 

"when did you forget you were an immigrant?"

This question challenges you to consider and respond to that question for your generation, and for the generations before yours.

"We consider printmaking a methodology. In the 1960s and 1970s, in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the whole country, printmaking was an important method of displaying, protesting, and speaking out about what’s on your mind. Today, it is still a great way of engaging with an audience, simply and immediately. The Sanctuary City Project is not just an art group that only shows up in white-walled a satellite organization with different pop-up and public events like the Print Shop, we’re really trying to open up to everybody."

"This exhibition acts as a mirror. It mirrors what is happening culturally and with policy at the federal, state, and city levels, right now and historically. You can participate in Sanctuary Print Shop if you support immigration reform, oppose immigration reform, or if you are ambivalent. What we’re asking people to do is to come together, look at this mirror, take it in, and engage through these interactive printmaking tables, which offer a powerful catalyst to start real conversations and incite further actions. How do you take those tools that you’ve been given, and then disperse them? That’s the important question."

"There are actions happening all over the country about immigration issues, and Sanctuary Print Shop is part of it. Every six months since 2016, you see a major immigrants rights protest in the US, but we’ve done this project for twelve years and we know it’s not a new issue. What we would like to see is young people getting engaged. It’s so important for kids, for everyone, to understand their place in history. Symbolically, making a poster is participation... People are confused about what they can do to have their voice heard or be part of a larger movement that doesn’t necessarily represent them as individuals, but does represent their values. If you want to see immigration reform, then you should be part of this.”


screen print station and wall of posters by Sanctuary City Project installed at Vachon Gallery

Sanctuary Print Shop: Seattle, as installed at Vachon Gallery. Exhibition curated by Thea Quiray Tagle, work by Sanctuary City Project. Winter 2019-20. Photo Joe Freeman Jr.

Image of tables set up for screenprinting in the foreground, a large video projection showing protest images in the back.

Sanctuary City Project

Working print shop installed at Vachon Gallery. This projected video, newly created for The Sanctuary Print Shop: Seattle, captures the sounds and sights of immigrants rights protests happening all over the United States since 2017.

Photo by Joe Freeman Jr.

screenprint workshop tables set up to print in the foreground, large wall covered in a grid of printed posters in the back

Sanctuary City Project

We invite you to use the silkscreening tools on this table to create a free poster in support of sanctuary and immigrant rights— visit us during our drop-in printshop hours on Fridays or schedule a session. If there are unclaimed posters on the ground, you may take them with you. Please share the message of The Sanctuary City Project outside of these walls!

Photo by Joe Freeman Jr. 

tables set up for screenprint workshop, with video monitor and large red text on a white wall behind the tables

Sanctuary City Project

We invite you to use the silkscreening tools on this table to create a free poster in support of sanctuary and immigrant rights. While the print dries, learn more about city, state, and federal immigration acts, deportation figures, and sanctuary ordinances from the four timeline videos on the gallery’s walls.

Photo by Joe Freeman Jr.

tables set for screenprint workshop in the foreground, tv monitor and large red letters

Sanctuary City Project

Create a free poster in support of sanctuary and immigrant rights. While the print dries, learn more about city, state, and federal immigration acts, deportation figures, and sanctuary ordinances from the four timeline videos on the gallery’s walls.

Photo by Joe Freeman Jr.


Image of colorful questionnaire papers attached to a while column wall, large red letters on a white wall the the background

Sanctuary City Project

The phrases at the center of this project come from sentiments shared by people who have filled out questionnaires just like these. The Sanctuary City Project has collected over 500 questionnaires to date as part of their research process and has translated some of the most poetic, powerful, and challenging phrases into the vinyl text, posters, and screens that you see around the gallery. Photo by Joe Freeman Jr.

table set up for screenprinting workshop in front of a large wall covered with a grid of printed posters.

Sanctuary City Project

This is not just a table for printmaking— it is a symbol of the sanctuary movement in the United States, which began in the early 1980s by churches and congregations committed to providing protection and shelter for refugees fleeing civil war in Central America. Cut from one 4x8’ piece of plywood, this table could also be a church pew, a bench, or a place to share a warm meal or to plan a solidarity action. Photo by Joe Freeman Jr.

About the Sanctuary City Project and the Artists

The Sanctuary City Project (SCP) is a community-engaged, social practice research project that experiments with different methods of gathering information and sharing outcomes that activate dialogue around sanctuary cities and immigration issues. SCP collects stories of immigration, detention, and resistance shared by nonprofits, civic institutions, and other individuals and groups. SCP then shares these narratives through video projections, interactive installations, mobile food projects, and pop-up print shops. Through these diverse public interventions, Sanctuary City Project aims to foster inclusive spaces for dialogue and debate.

Since 2009, artists Sergio De La Torre and Chris Treggiari have collaborated on The Sanctuary City Project.

Sergio De La Torre
 has worked with and documented the multiple ways in which citizens reinvent themselves in the city they inhabit as well as site-specific strategies they deploy to move in and out of modernity. These works have appeared in the 10th Istanbul Biennial; Bienal Barro de America; Cleveland Performance Art Festival; Atelier Frankfurt; Centro Cultural Tijuana; YBCA; TRIBECA Film Festival; and El Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia. Sergio De La Torre is an Associate Professor at the University of San Francisco Art and Architecture Department.

Chris Treggiari
 strives to investigate how art can enter the public realm in a way that can connect wide ranges of people and neighborhoods in a variety of communities.  Chris has shown internationally including the Venice Biennale 2012 American Pavilion and nationally at venues including SFMOMA, the Torrance Art Museum, the Getty Museum, Berkeley Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He has been awarded grants from the Puffin Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Creative Work Fund, the Arts Commission of San Jose, The Seattle Center Foundation, and others. Chris has been a teaching artist-in-residence at the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts since 2013.

 *The banner image at the top of this page features artwork by Carol Rashawnna Williams (2019), Romson Regarde Bustillo (2019), Sanctuary City Project (2019-20), and E.T. Russian (2019-20).


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Lee Center for the Arts (CNFA)

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