Create + Activate

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Below is a sample of the letter sent out to participants

Dear — —,

Enclosed you will find a one-of-a-kind, hand-cut collage from my Desert.Index: Transplant from Social Distancing series. This work has been carefully selected as a gift for you. 

Made during this pandemic, this work represents a personal desire to exchange this moment of social isolation for a meaningful and lasting connection with others. 

Motivated by this desire for connection, I’ve decided to send these collages to fellow creatives (artists, writers, designers, curators…) and community advocates, all of whom I personally respect and value. 

However, I would also like for you to consider participating in the following calls to action: 

  • Please consider making a donation (money, time, or service) of whatever size you feel inclined to one of the four organizations listed on the contact sheet attached to this letter.
  • Please consider extending this call of action back to me by sending me an item of exchange paired with a contact sheet for a compassionate and humane organization, or selection of organizations, that you would like me to consider donating to. 
    • Items you send to me can be small works of art (2D or 3D), pieces of writing (long or short), or something akin to a handmade card; anything that fits inside any type of standard sized, priority mailer. 
      • While items sent to me need not be sent priority mail, in support of the United States Postal Service, I do encourage you to use USPS if at all possible.
    • Objects sent to me, while being personally valued, will also be carefully archived, documented, and shared (with your permission) on Instagram @desert.index as well as carefully selected brick-and-mortar or online exhibition spaces.

It is my hope that you enjoy the work I have shared with you, and it is my hope that you are willing to participate in these calls to action.  I look forward to hearing back from you!


Matthew Villarreal

Contact Sheet

The rhetoric currently used by government leaders and officials to describe immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers is not only appalling, but dangerously threatens our humanity. Please consider making a donation to any of the non-profit organizations below so that they can continue to help and to serve the immigrant/migrant/refugee/asylum-seeker community in the United States.

Seguimos Adelante is a grassroots organization that work with shelters in El Paso-Juarez to provide medical care, shelter, legal aid, education, and transportation for migrants, refugees, asylum seekers.

HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) is an organization that celebrates 139 years of helping refugees escape persecution and resettle their lives in safety.

DMRS (Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services) is the largest provider of free and low-cost immigration legal services in West Texas and New Mexico, providing a wide range of immigration legal services to those in most need. 

Annunciation House is a volunteer organization that offers hospitality to migrants, immigrants, and refugees in the border region of El Paso, Texas by providing shelter, clothing, food, and other basic necessities for hundreds of thousands of migrants, mostly from Mexico and Central America. 


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