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Meet Diane Amgamarca-Ortiz

By Tesha M. Christensen

Diane

Seven-year-old Diane Amgamarca-Ortiz can make friends with anyone. 

She’s in second grade at Risen in Christ Catholic Church (1120 E. 37th St.), and takes the bus over to Banyan Community after school. At Banyan, she works on homework, plays in the gym, and “chills out.”

Diane is one of 16 South Minneapolis students whose portraits are part of the WE ARE 2065 project by local painter Joanna Hallstrom. Diane is one of three participants from Banyan. “I love Banyan,” she stated.

Diane will be 53 in 2065. What will she be like then? “Nice, kind and I think my likes will be the same,” said Diane.

As part of the project, students were interviewed and asked to share their experiences of school, family and growing up for a soundscape the accompanies the gallery. 

How does her day start? “I wake up, brush my teeth, change and have breakfast,” she said. “Then I come downstairs, put on my shoes, get my backpack, and wait a few minutes. My dad and mom take me to school.”

The talkative seven-year-old loves to draw and can’t imagine a day without drawing. “I like to play with my stuffed animals. I like to read,” she said. She enjoys snapping photos with her camera, roller skating, swimming and going to the park. 

When she grows up, she wants to be a chef like her dad, Patricio Amgamarca,  who works at the Loon Cafe in downtown Minneapolis.

When the 2065 show is up at Banyan, Diane plans to invite her large extended family to view it.

Diane is the child of two immigrants from Ecuador. Her father has been in the United States for 19 years, and became a citizen four months ago. He came here hoping for a better life at age 18 when his school closed because the government wasn’t funding them. Patricio started washing dishes and cleaning at a restaurant, working 16-hour days at two jobs. He moved up to prep work, and is now a chef. 

Learning another language has been challenging for Patricio, and he’s glad to see how easily his youngest daughter, Diane, speaks in English with others.

He’s proud of both of his daughters and grateful for his beautiful wife, Olivia Ortiz.

“I have a good life,” said Patricio. “I’m happy here.”

 

WHAT YOU SEE

Diane Amgamarca-Ortiz, age7

When she grows up, Diane wants to be a chef like her dad, Patricio Amgamarca, the subject of this photo that she took. She also really likes to take photos, and enjoys time at Banyan Community.

 

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