Refugees Add Flare to Arts Festival

Refugees Add Flare to Arts Festival

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Sammy Linebaugh ReportingThe Utah Arts Festival is happening in downtown Salt Lake City and it just happens to coincide with World Refugee Day. So, it's only fitting that our friends from other countries are a big part of today's celebration.

For people it's tough to imagine picking up and leaving our lives behind for a new country, a new life. But that's exactly what more than 50-thousand refugees now living in Utah have done. Today is a celebration of their courage, strength and artistic flare.

Through art, poetry and song, they've come to tell their story.

Pasha Paslic, Painter from Yugoslavia: "Very happy today because I can explain my art work. I can explain what I am doing in my home and you enjoy if you see my picture.”

Then there is Cesar Sarmiento, a former soap opera star and singer from Cuba who moved here only 11 months ago and is back on stage today, for the first time.

Thamina Martelli/Refugee Coordinator, SLC Mayor's Office: "Cesar loves to perform. That's what he used to do, he was in a band for over 40 years."

In all, Utah's refugee population brings more than 40 different languages to the state.

Muthoni Imungi, U of U Student from Kenya: "Them being able to feel that they have done something significant, I think that's where I get my happiness and pride from.”

It is a pride that is shared by hundreds here who have enriched Utah's art scene with expressions of home and culture, both unique and universal.

Refugee groups will be performing here until about 8 o'clock tonight.

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