Help Josué and enjoy his art

Help Josué and enjoy his art

Brown University yearbook Liber Brunensis, Spanish House, Providence, Rhode Island, 1986. (left) Josué Ramirez, (right) David Kramer. From What Millennials think of the Bridge Generation at Lux Lounge.

“Scholarship Boy,” self portrait, oil on canvas board (14 x 11), 1988

“Scholarship Boy,” self portrait, oil on canvas board (14 x 11), 1988. Josué Ramirez

Josue's room at Spanish House, Brown University, with Sarah Lum, 1985

Josué’s room at Spanish House, Brown University, 1985

You first met Josué Ramirez in What Millennials think of the Bridge Generation at Lux Lounge. and then later in The 180th Anniversary of the Alamo and Trump’s Wall with Dr. Josué Ramirez where we looked at the 180th anniversary of Santa Anna’s capture of the Alamo.

I first met Josué freshman year at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. I’ve always known Josué as a gifted writer, academic and painter.

In 1987, Josué worked in Rochester for La Isla, a community organization. For a while, he lived with my parents in Brighton who he described in his artist’s biography as “a fascinating, intellectually active couple.” During this time in Rochester, Josué produced “Still Life in Rochester.”

“Still Life in Rochester,” oil on canvas board (14x11), Summer 1987 (Offered at $3,200)

“Still Life in Rochester,” oil on canvas board (14×11), Summer 1987 (Offered at $3,200) Josué Ramirez

I remember in 1997 when both of us lived in Rhode Island and Josué was commissioned to draw a well-received mural of Providence’s newly developed waterfront.

Providence, RI, 1997. Josue Ramirez

“Waterplace Park, Providence, RI,” oil on canvas (20×60), 1997 (SOLD, signed prints offered at $120) Josué Ramirez

In the last several years, Josué has had various health setbacks. Thankfully, he survived life threatening surgeries.  At the same time, his health difficulties have taken a real financial toll.

In Help JosuéJosué asks for help. No doubt, very few of our readers know Josué personally. So, Josué asks that you take a look at some of paintings and consider a purchase at in which you can see his most comprehensive collection, “Sketches of Old New York”: Towards an Anthology of the Metropolis .

Dear Community,
I sat in front of a blank screen for the longest time this morning. I never imagined I’d be fundraising for my own life. I thought some day I’d raise money for a civic cause, or for some worthy candidate. But my friends tell me that I should accept help, that I do have a community that loves and values me. And, that now I indeed need help.

“Sketches of Old New York”: Towards an Anthology of the Metropolis

“Old New York, 1876, no.6,” oil on canvas (26×42), 2009 (Offered at $3,200) From “Sketches of Old New York”: Towards an Anthology of the Metropolis. Josué Ramirez

Josue 6

Against Macismo: Young Adult Voices in Mexico City (2008) by Josué Ramirez

I had three epic operations in the last couple of years, surgeries that saved my life. (At Bellevue Hospital and NYU-Langone.) I had months of intensive care, weeks when my numbers were not good, when I was just not recovering. Feeding tubes, nights of morphine and very worried doctors. In that dark place my life changed.

I was diagnosed with colitis in graduate school, and for several years I lived on steroids. I was strong. I finished a doctorate in anthropology at Brown in 2002. But my condition worsened. In 2008 I left a good tenure track position in Massachusetts. I was starting to experience complications. I published my dissertation as a book, an ethnographic monograph of young people in Mexico City. But I was now exhausted, hemorrhaging. Back in New York I tried to work in insurance, but couldn’t. I drew down my savings, and eventually had to rely on friends and family. I sold some paintings. One day I got a visit from a dear friend. I had a small apartment on 28th Street at the time. She insisted on taking me to the hospital. She put her foot down. At Bellevue after several days of tests a small group of doctors came to see me. The head of surgery there said, Josue, you’re having surgery first thing in the morning. Otherwise you’re in real trouble. At that hospital I survived the war. I was disemboweled on a field of battle somewhere far away, but I survived the war. Friends came, time passed, I lived.

“Immigrant Children, 1890s,” oil on canvas (14x20), 2009, (Offered at $2,200)

“Immigrant Children, 1890s,” oil on canvas (14×20), 2009, (Offered at $2,200) “Sketches of Old New York”: Towards an Anthology of the Metropolis. Josué Ramirez

I now face a new reality. I’m in debt to friends, family, banks, credit cards. I’m living from adjunct teaching part time, but my functioning remains difficult. And yet, I’m absolutely overjoyed to be alive. It’s a cliche I know about survivors, but it’s true. Every day is a gift for me now. And, I’ve come to accept my life as it is. I’m finally able to ask for help. The academic career might no longer be possible, but I’m still part of a larger whole. I have a role to play in this city. I bring passions and skills cultivated over many years. I will fully recover and I will build a new life here.

That’s where you come in. Please donate to my recovery. I need a calm space, some time, some sustenance. I need yoga, meditation, therapy, conversation. I’ve always been a creative person, and through my art and writing I will find another career, another purpose.Eventually I’ll find a non-profit to work for, a think tank, a city agency. I’m an activist by nature.

Broadway & Chambers Street, 1859, based on an old photograph. Oil on canvas 42 x 26 new

Broadway & Chambers Street, 1859, based on an old photograph. Oil on canvas 42 x 26 new. From “Sketches of Old New York”: Towards an Anthology of the Metropolis. $5000. Josué Ramirez

This is the time your help would be most critical. My medical journey has taught me humility and gratitude. I’ll always remember and value your contribution.

Josue Ramirez (need date)

Barack Obama, circa 2015. Josué Ramirez


About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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