CINCINNATI – November 27, 2017 – Faith-based and nonprofit institutions across Greater Cincinnati are hosting a film and art exhibit that tells the story of forced migration.

Filmmaker Doug Swift shares the stories of those who fled war, violence and persecution in a powerful documentary called, Breathe Free. The unease and fear surrounding U.S. border issues is palpable. The documentary shares how the migrants’ stories led 34 artists to create Columbus Crossing Borders, an exhibit about forced migration.

The documentary and art exhibit will be presented on January 10 and 11 as part of National Migration Week and Pope Francis’ invitation for all to Share the Journey with migrants. Share the Journey encourages prayer and reflection to discern how best to love one’s neighbors.

“We are in the midst of a global, humanitarian crisis that we cannot ignore. More than 65 million people are uprooted due to war, violence and persecution. Half of all displaced are children,” Ted Bergh, Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio CEO, said. “Pope Francis wants us to understand the impact of this crisis by getting to know the migrants who live with us. We need to hear their stories, literally share their journeys, and see migrants as our brothers and sisters.”

Breathe Free and Columbus Crossing Borders are presented by Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, CET-Think TV, Xavier University Art Gallery and the Ursulines of Cincinnati in partnership with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Social Action Office, Bellarmine Chapel, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati – Rahma Community Services, St. Anthony Church (Madisonville), and Xavier University Center for Interfaith Community Engagement.

A reception, free screening of Breathe Free, and expert Q&A panel will be held 5:30-7:30 pm, Wednesday, January 10, at CET Studios. The free pop-up art exhibit, Columbus Crossing Borders, will open for one day starting at 10 am, January 11 at the Xavier University Art Gallery at the A.B. Cohen Center. A reception will be held at the gallery from 4-7pm that evening with additional screenings of Breathe Free for a $5 donation at the door. RSVP at and


About Us

Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, a United Way Agency Partner, has been serving the most vulnerable in our community for more than 100 years. Our programs serve the poor, protect the vulnerable and welcome the stranger regardless of their religious background or country of origin. Our mission to enlighten, serve and empower is enabled by the generosity of donors and volunteers. Together, we brought hope to 120,000 people last year. Visit to learn more.


About Columbus Crossing Borders

The Columbus Crossing Borders traveling art exhibit includes the works of 34 artists responding to stories shared by refugees. As the exhibit moves around the room, each painting contains an element that reaches into the painting beside it. In other words, the artists have been asked not to be territorial with their work, cooperating to allow each other to cross borders into neighboring paintings. Perhaps a hand is reaching from one painting into the next. Maybe a figure is running from one painting into the other. Or maybe the connection is made through sky color or blades of grass. However these ‘border crossings’ take place, the artists are creating spaces that allow their works to overlap and integrate harmoniously. And throughout the exhibit, as paintings and diversities flow in combined efforts, what emerges is a bigger, more beautiful outcome resulting from a cooperative community. Learn more at