Human beings seem to have an overactive fear of the unknown, and we’re hard-pressed to think of a more immediate example of the ugliness that can be born of fear than the current international refugee crisis. People are scared about the ramifications that might occur when American cities grant sanctuary status but, in most cases, it’s the result of a simple case of not enough information. Travel journalist Judith Fein is aware of this and, as such, has helped to organize an upcoming event that will hopefully dispel at least some of the fear surrounding this volatile issue. At Refugees Speak, interested parties will have the chance to ask nearly a dozen refugees from varying creeds and countries like Syria, Africa, Iraq and beyond almost anything they wish by writing queries on index cards. The event will also provide information about how people might help through donations of goods, time and money. “In a lot of cases, these people are overwhelmed,” Fein says. “They’ve seen horrible atrocities, and now they get $240 a month and are given very little time to get jobs, pay rent, make it on their own. … We asked, ‘What is needed now?’” In most cases, the simple answer is that these people need support and care, but there is always much to be done, especially during today’s political climate of fear-mongering and potential oppression. The subtext of the event is, of course, don’t be a jerk, and try to remember that refugees are human beings. “We figured that instead of hearing about the situation from experts, we wanted to hear from the [refugees] themselves,” Fein adds. “We know that Santa Fe has to be one of the most incredible places in the world, and we know that people want to help; this will help them to do that.” So take your questions and concerns to the source, but remember to maintain your compassion and a healthy level of empathy. You’ve no idea what these people have been through, and we are truly never better as a species than when we flex our understanding. (Alex De Vore)

Refugees Speak
1-3 pm Sunday Jan. 8. Free.
First Presbyterian Church,
208 Grant Ave.,
982-8544.

Dream Dream Dream

Martin J Desht
Martin J Desht | Martin J Desht

Photographer Martin J Desht once worked for Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania. His father before him had been a coal miner and worked for Mack Trucks. “It was the most diversely and heavily industrialized city in North America, and when they started to lose that economic base beginning in the ’70s,” Dresht tells SFR, “I knew there was a story that needed telling.”

Faces from an American Dream

was born. The show, which focuses on American deindustrialization, has exhibited annually across the country since 1992 and comes to Santa Fe this week. “The American dream is a perennial topic,” Desht says. “The show is always topical, election or not.” (ADV)

Faces from an American Dream:
On display Wednesday Jan 4.
Reception 5 pm Friday Jan. 20.
Through Jan. 28. Free.
Vista Grande Public Library,
14 Avenida Torreon,
466-7323.

Assembled and Bound

Courtesy Axle Contemporary
Courtesy Axle Contemporary | Courtesy Axle Contemporary

Frederick Spaulding uses unique materials in his assemblage sculpture works. One of his earliest shows, for example, featured a series of bricks silkscreened with photographic images of Chicago, and his work in the upcoming opening at Axle Contemporary follows the original-parts suit. “I use a batch of materials—a collection, I call it—that I collect over many years,” Spaulding tells SFR. “And I rebuild in different ways, so it’s like I am constantly recycling the material.” Spaulding is still perfecting his newest piece for the upcoming show at Axle’s mobile space, and we can’t wait to see the finished product. (Maria Egolf-Romero)

Frederick Spaulding Opening Reception:
5 pm Friday Jan. 6. Free.
Axle Contemporary, in front of the New Mexico Museum of Art,
107 W Palace Ave.,
670-5854.

Prehistoric Preservation

Courtesy the Author
Courtesy the Author | Courtesy the Author

The Tiwa people, a group of Tanoan Pueblo tribes located in the Southwest, have a history and culture that so fascinated archaeologist/professor Severin Fowles that he literally wrote the book on their hierocratic history. Fowles teaches anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University, and his installment of Southwest Seminars’

Ancient Sites, Ancient Stories

lecture series

focuses on making sense of the petroglyphs found all over Northern New Mexico. Impress your friends on your next trip to Bandelier when you know what the cliffs are saying. Fowles discusses the knowledge he accumulated during years of research and does the whole Q&A thing with the audience. (Kim Jones)

Interpretations of Archaic Northern Rio Grande Rock Art:
6 pm Monday Jan. 9. $12.
Hotel Santa Fe,
1501 Paseo De Peralta,
982-1200.