With several colleges and universities just a short drive from here, and Bucknell University in our backyard, we are blessed with the opportunity to experience the art, cultures and music of the world through offerings at The Samek Art Museum and the Weis Center for the Performing Arts.

It’s an opportunity too few of us take advantage of.

These offerings are provided by people who have been there and done that, so to speak. Experiences make us wiser and seeing and hearing first-hand accounts of that which is happening elsewhere in this country, or the world, can only aid us in shaping our own world views.

No matter where you stand on the issue of immigration — which, need we remind you, includes more than just our southern border — you should visit The Samek Art Museum in the Langone Center on the campus of Bucknell University for the exhibit “Border Cantos | Sonic Border,” which runs through March 24.

One of the artists, Guillermo Galindo, was on hand Friday to talk about his work with students from Montandon Elementary School. This visit was made possible through a grant, which covered bus transportation for the students.

Galindo’s work, which incorporates items left behind by migrants at our southern borders into instruments, was inspired not by the political climate today, but rather by the human experience. Galindo’s work is coupled with the photography of Richard Misrach to provide a moving experience for those who visit.

An artist and composer, Galindo crafted items left behind into musical instruments. Those instruments communicate with each other on a musical loop which plays throughout the gallery as visitors file through. No matter where you stand, you hear a different “story” or composition.

“We’re artists; we’re not politicians,” Galindo, who is an American citizen who was born in Mexico City, made a point of saying. “We want to give people the experience of the border, and to get acquainted with the immigrants’ journey. To make it palpable. To make it human.”

Given the political rhetoric of the day, it seems the human aspect of this issue was lost long ago.

The exhibit, which has been shown across the country, took more than a year to complete, and started not with the political debate, but with visits to the border by both artists.

Walk around the gallery and you’re influenced not by words, but by music, the images you see and objects you observe.

It’s a powerful experience, one that children should see as well. Seeing students’ eyes light up at the sight of unique musical instruments was a moving experience.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Samek hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Chris Brady is managing editor at The Standard-Journal. He can be reached at chris@standard-journal.com.

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