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San Clemente Journal

"Gateway to Gold Mountain”

Feb 05, 2006 12:06PM ● Published by Don Kindred

The Angel Island Immigration Experience of Thousands Who Came to America Through the Pacific

Between 1910 and 1940 immigrants entering America through the Pacific came to Angel Island Immigration Station in the San Francisco Bay. Searching for a better life, immigrants to America, especially the over 175,000 Chinese citizens risking everything for a new opportunity, encountered a far different America than the land of opportunity many Chinese called “Gold Mountain.” 
Resulting from the perception that the country’s economic depression at this time was related to the influx of new immigrants, specifically the Chinese, politicians enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act making it especially difficult for Asians to enter the country, attain citizenship, own property or compete in business. With their chance at a new life hanging in the balance, feelings of loneliness, isolation, despair and doubt played on the minds of many who waited. Through historic photos, text, and poetry, a Casa Romantica exhibit discusses the attitudes, hopes, and fears of the immigrants, as well as the discrimination they encountered trying to gain entry to America. 
The exhibition chronicles the Angel Island experience with photomurals that depict the day-to-day life on Angel Island, and life-size photographic cut-outs show how Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean and Jewish immigrants were all part of the station’s history. Visitors will walk through a series of vignettes, each representing a particular experience at the immigration station. Exhibit text is in both Chinese and English. 
Gateway to Gold Mountain is a traveling exhibition organized by the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation with exhibition funding provided by Arts Orange County. This is the first time the exhibit will be shown in Southern California. The exhibit will be displayed in the Main Gallery at Casa Romantica from January 18 to March 19, 2006. Hours are Tuesday 1-4, Wednesday through Sunday 11-4, closed Monday. Admission price is $3, members are free.
This exhibit and related special programs support the mission of Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens to reflect and interpret the romance and reality of the California dream. Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens is located at 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente. b
For more information regarding the exhibit, contact Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens at 949-498-2139 or www.casaromantica.org.
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