May 12 - June 24, 2018

Curated by Cynthia Tom and Maggie Yee
May12 - June 24, 2018.
J-Sei, 1285 66th Street, Emeryville, CA 94608
Gallery Open Saturdays and Sundays 12 - 3 p.m., Weekdays 2 - 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted below 

To imagine a place of your own, for a woman, is an act of rebellion.Whether its physical or a state of mind, this concept drives self-care and love. This exhibition, the culminating phase of a 6 month healing program, is Intended to inspire, excite and ignite. It combines visual storytelling with mixed media and found objects, and insists upon new ways to re imagine your place in the world.

A PLACE OF HER OWN exhibition offers visitors interactive self-guided art stations to tap into their own inner wisdom and ancestral patterns through hands-on art-making

Opening Reception: Saturday, May 12, 2018, 2-5 p.m.
The public is invited to join the journey through participation with self-guided art-making workstations.

Artist Talk: June 3, 2018 - 2-4 pm, Gallery Open 12-5 pm
*2018 workshop participants share their process behind the art.  See * artists’ list

Lecture and Film: Sat. June 9, 2018 - 1-3 pm, Gallery Open 12 - 5 p.m. 
Detained Alien Enemy Glass Kimono, Art & Film by PLACE's Reiko Fujii.

Presented by Japanese American Women Alumni of UC Berkeley (JAWA) and J-Sei.

Closing Celebration: Sunday, June 24, 2018 12-3 p.m., Gallery Open 12 - 3 p.m.
Artists: Nancy Arvold, *Julie Andersen, Angela Bau, Manon Bogerd Wada *Frances Cachapero, *Norma Carrera, *Kristi Chan, Catherine Ceniza Choy, Angie Dumagsa, *Elizabeth Esqueda, Reiko Fujii, *Ashleigh Heinichen, *Tomo Hirai, *Ahran Lee, *Grace Hwang Lynch, Lisa Rodondi, *Teresa Le Yung Ryan, Natalie Sacramento, Cynthia Tom, Sue Tom, Dechen Tsering,  Manon  Bogerd Wada, Irene Wibawa, Maggie Yee, *Paz Zamora
*Denotes artists presenting during Artist Talk

Metamorphosis of Superpowers

Ahran Lee
The intention of my piece is to celebrate my imperfections. They are wellsprings of beauty and strength, not shameful aspects to hide or erase. In fact, my flaws are my superpowers. The Japanese philosophy of kintsugi, meaning “to patch with gold”, inspired my piece.  In kintsugi, the artful repair of a broken bowl actually adds value to the bowl. Mending the bowl with gold paint creates rivers of gold in the bowl's unique fault lines.  What was once broken is now more beautiful because of it's brokenness. I painted golden cracks against a red backdrop to represent my own rivers of gold. These are my superpower rivers. What was once marred with self hate now has new life. The circular shapes refer to the fluid nature of my spiritual growth and healing. Healing is not a linear process but rather a cyclical one. The red is a nod to the root chakra which represents the foundational base of all energies. I had a traumatic childhood. A shaky foundation. But I am accepting that part of my history and choosing to see it as healthy fertilizer to my rich inner garden. I am stronger because of it. Not despite it. The illustrations are traditional Korean motifs and subject matter. I no longer see my biculturalism as burdensome. I see it as inspiration and a platform to educate people about Korean culture. To speak on my Korean heritage empowers me and is an act of deep self love.
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Suspens(ion) of Belief

Angela Bau
I’ve always been very curious about many things, about myself, about life.

I’ve discovered another perspective of family patterns, and therefore my beliefs. Through this process, through family and spiritual insights, and my Hawaiian hula dance practice, I have immense gratitude for the legacy of my Shanghainese ancestors.

Being born in Hong Kong, only our nuclear family immigrating here, and losing my mother when I was 17, I’ve felt gaps in our family history. Although we have a written history of mostly the males going back 8 generations (I use salt in my piece because that was our family business for all that time, in the same village!), I have only sporadically met many of my relatives, and have very few photos and family sites to visit, due to the political climate of China. Nor do I have many stories of them. However I do know that they have passed on to me resilience, the ability to navigate various cultures, and creativity. (Since PLACE 2016 though, I’ve been blessed to attend a major family reunion, and discover more ancient family sites, including a rare ancestral temple honoring the Bao women!).

Through examining the above and my aspirations, I’m reminded that core beliefs and judgments of myself are to be suspended, as the reality of the moment changes; instead, a grateful acceptance of self and circumstances, and a more flowing ease is where I want to be.

A PLACE OF MY OWN acknowledges ancient wisdom, roots, strength, and portals to growth. It invariably has the presence of nature’s nurturance, dancing, a global community, all of which has grounded and sustained me. May these elements, and the suspense and anticipation of expanding my personal horizons, remain.  And may my curiosity ever continue to be sparked!

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Curating Joy

Reiko Fujii

My Place is where I feel at home with myself, surrounded by the inspirational activities and connections that contribute to cultivating happiness, confidence and inner strength.  During my A Place of Her Own Artist Residency, I discovered that I was visiting “My Place” when I was submerged in taking photographs of nature, experimenting with recycled materials, and even just watching the moonrise. The creations in my library catalog card cabinet are evidence that I had been to My Place. These include photographs exemplifying my love of taking pictures and the connections I have with people, nature and animals.

    As part of my Curating Joy installation, I am exhibiting my “Nature Preserves” light box, which include jars that are decorated with fused photographs of hummingbirds that I took while I was visiting “My Place.”  Every morning, just before dawn, I walked down to a small waterfall where the hummers were taking their morning baths. I became engulfed in their world as they flitted back and forth, landing in the water and hanging onto a ledge as they cleansed their feathers and took a sip. 

    Attending “A Place of Her Own” workshops and the process of creating my installation, “Curating Joy,” have made me realize that joy and gratitude go hand- in-hand. Through the teachings and encouragement of  Cynthia Tom, I was able to face my darkness and disarm its power over me, allowing me to cultivate joy in my life.
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The Yellow Swing

Sue Tom

Delving into the question of “A Place Of Her Own, If you had a place of your own, what would it be?”, Sue Tom has also found her voice. She now feels free to write and speak of stories remembered from a deeply traumatic childhood. Sue is 89 years of age and the oldest participant of PLACE.

Her father traded Tom for opium, beginning at age 6.  The dealer liked little girls. It ended when she was sent to a tuberculosis sanitarium at age 12 and spent time there off and on through her teens. Tom learned to put a lid on her wants and needs. 

Searching for A PLACE OF MY OWN has been somewhat elusive. It is a skill she feels she doesn’t easily possess.

Tom does remember the day when she placed her son, Larry, on the baby swings; She decided to try swinging alongside him.  Surprisingly, the experience of moving through the air, playing, was an experience of pure delight. She wondered if having a PLACE of her own, felt like this?

Her husband placed a set of swings where both her children and the neighborhood kids had FUN. As adults, we deny ourselves the freedom of swinging and deny ourselves the pleasure of flying through the air.  Tom highly recommends it. Time for play happens in A Place of My Own.
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Good Night

Tomo Hirai

At the end of the day, we all seek a private and quiet place to rest. That place is usually a bed. Beds are also one of the most private and intimate spaces one can have. To share one with anyone insinuates trust and a sense of intimacy.
Developing on a desire to be both physically and mentally comfortable, and to have that sense of comfort anywhere I go, I wished for a portable and private space where I may rest. 
Aside from literal physical comfort, the small and private space is a mentally comforting place that is mine and a place where I can be alone with my thoughts. 
The box outside is unassuming because it need not be the focus, but I paid attention to what went inside. I desired an environment that calms and comforts me using pastels and my favorite color: green. The unnecessary number of pillows and excessive length of the comforter all resting on a king-sized Murphy bed aims to be a decadent space. I can sprawl out or wrap myself and sleep in any way I like. The headboard doubling as a circular window similar to those found in traditional Japanese architecture, also offers a view I want to see, a pretty and calm night sky.
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A New Beginning

Ashleigh Heinichen
Most of the words that I use in my piece do not have direct English translations. Similarly, a place of my own has no direct translation to reality. Each word describes a complex layer of feelings that are situationally specific. A place of my own is complex because it must be cobbled together by a string of feelings and places that have never been felt all at once. I want to create a sense of curiosity and wonder as you the viewer becomes a page-turning participant. This piece honors my journey towards the woman I am and actively evolving into.

It is my hope that you will be inspired to view your life and others’ lives with a fresh eye and compassionate heart. To see that we are more than what we appear to be, and that we are all part of a greater humanity with the capacity to generate positive changes all around us.  

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Open to the PLACE of Abundance

Cynthia Tom
For most of my life I unconsciously, overwhelming believed that I had to provide gifts of abundance (love, comfort, support, joy) for others. It made me a good person, it made me a worthy person, worthy of love, worthy of attention, worthy of a decent life.
I became ill for a long time, caring for everyone else but myself. In the last 5 years, I realized, on a deep spiritual level, that I deeply believed that I did not deserve these gifts for myself.  I now consistently remind myself that I deserve an abundance of love and support too.
“I am open and receptive to the gifts of abundance” affirmations inspired by Louise Hay.

The creative process inherent in PLACE asks us to rely on our intuition with trust and faith that the right ideas and the right found objects as art media and images will show up when needed. The art work falls into place simply and easily. Allowing the gifts to come to us.

My creative process involved ruminating on the PLACE question, “If I had a place of my own, what would it be?”
Stored in my home and studio for years waiting, the box, flowers and painting all found their way together.  What synchronicity that these 3 elements fit together as if I custom built them. The word ABUNDANCE bubbled up. That is the magic of found object art.
This piece is a constant reminder that I am changing my beliefs from the inside out.
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If I had more TIME on my HANDS…

Dechen Tsering
This piece was inspired by spotting a broken clock cabinet thrown by the roadside one sunny Sunday.  Rest is herstory...

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Recipes of Self-love

Angie Dumagsa
My piece is about simple things in life, these are things we find every day. Cooking has always been my refuge whether I’m happy or stressed out! It’s always been my go-to. This exhibits things that we sometimes take for granted, as simple as food, humor, carelessness and self-love. If you can find time to look into each box, there is nothing hidden to these things. They are as easy as the balloon, up in the air Is about letting it go. Or the bathtub, to find a few minutes for yourself.
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Ang Pau

Kristiana Chan
Kristiana is a multimedia artist, educator, surfeminist, writer, and photographer based in San Francisco. Her Ang Pau installation explores the intergenerational transfer of ideas, culture, and trauma patterns as well as inherited beliefs and narratives. Ang pau (Hokkien), also known as hong bao (Mandarin) or lai see (Cantonese) refers to the traditional practice of exchanging lucky money in red envelopes between elders and youth in a family.

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A Place Within Me

Elizabeth Esqueda
Imagine a ‘mysterious’ life that’s difficult, impossible to understand, explain, or identify: This is the actual definition of ‘mysterious,’ according to the dictionary. This definition has applied in my life more often than I’d like. I haven’t been able to understand why but I am often misunderstood. I moved around constantly due to instability that surrounded my life, as a single person living by themselves on this itty bitty island of San Francisco. Life became difficult to understand; what am I doing. My only outlook was fun, entertainment, and toxic relationships to fulfill my soul. I can’t live a simple life to live at ease because I'm not a boring person. Although my life became ‘mysterious,’ and in turn, I became mysterious to other people. I learned to become ‘impossible to figure out’ so that I could protect myself from constant change, showing emotion, and disappointment.
When I first heard about A Place of Her Own, I thought it was just an obligation, I never saw it as a necessity. When I began the program, I got the chance to learn ways to control my own life, to not live ‘mysteriously’ anymore. Although, it was a struggle for me; I had to acknowledge the brokenness, deal with the unresolved family patterns, and voice the hurt from my own childhood. Then moving farther away from the area became an obstacle, as if gravity slowly pulling you away from the light. I slowly felt emptiness, voidance that was not filled. Thankfully, Cynthia's consistency wheeled me back to PLACE.
Then I began to create my own:
A spiritual space to work from the heart,
 Big windows that frame the perspective of
"Fresh Air"
Allowing new ideas and thoughts to flow.
Support from the book on the shelves
 We explore the ideas and thoughts between pages:
 Gain energy and enthusiasm.
The lights glitter everywhere just like stars dropping from the Stars upon Earth
There's more than I see.
A young adult who,
Bold, Sensitive, & Feminine
Where a soul is filled
In a Place of Her Own.
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A Newly Described Species: Wibatika irenea M.I Wibawa 2016

by Irene Wibawa
in collaboration with Maggie Yee
Wibatika irenea is a newly described species included in the genus Wibatika of the Wibatikaceae family, which originates from Indonesia, with ancestral roots from China.  The only known individual of this species is female and has both plant and human DNA.  Using carbon dating and verbal communication, plant geneticists, taxonomists, and anthropologists have determined that she was hybridized between Wibawaceae and Kartikaceae during the 1970s. This species has been documented to have three forms: plant form, human form and miniature form.  In the plant form, this species grows to be a small tree up to 150 cm tall, blooms year round, and can thrive worldwide despite harsh conditions.  The human form, also known as the extrovert form, stands at 150 cm tall, looks, speaks and behaves like a human being.  Further studies are needed to understand the 2 cm tall miniature form, also known as the introvert form, which is a subset of the human form. Cloud is her preferred means of dispersal.  Behavioral scientists note that she is playful, joyous, and still making mistakes, but embraces them and is accepted by others nonetheless.  It is anticipated that this species will enjoy a long lifespan.   Discovery of this species is greatly credited to Maggie Yee as the major contributor to this expedition. Other supporters include: Cynthia Tom, Rachel Michaelson, Carolé Acuña, Larissa Pico, Chantelle Goldwaithe, Jessica Serran and her KYAITS group, Charley Paff with Live Oak painting group, Brian Garvey and all A Place of Her Own sisters.
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My Place, My Inherent Right

Julie Andersen
My  PLACE is knowing and believing in who I am and knowing I am connected and loved.  My place is accepting, embracing and acknowledging my foibles in all areas of my life.  The imperfections and flaws are the beauty, space and laughter that allow profound insights,  letting go into light.  Having lived through being one of six children in a family system that was soaking in alcoholism & mental illness, I had some watershed moments:  the blessings of near death and “me too” experiences,  giving birth to three beautiful beings, divorce, and travel.  

Through these experiences my solace has been a deep connection to art, nature and family.   My PLACE is coming back to ME through somatic awakening to my inherent right to be at ease in my body, mind and spirit at any time or place as it is connected to nature and my community. 

I have scar tissue throughout my body, emotional  and nervous system.  Movement through walking in nature, dance, gentle manipulation, and breath all work together to bring me back home to my body.  Nature allows space for prayer and meditation,  the foundation for the creative process, healing, health,  happiness and an alignment  to all things .   A knowing that I am supported and lucky to be alive!

 This tree represents solidity and embodiment of this connection.  The chakras represent my relationship to myself and community. 
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Restoring Self/Revealing Luz: Incantation for the 21st century

Frances Cachapero
This journey of seeking a place of my own is a radical act of self-love, care and healing. At times this journey was difficult as I unraveled old emotional knots and challenged beliefs that no longer serve me. Ultimately, it has been a great gift and opportunity to reconstruct and refresh my personal narrative. This place that I call my own is where:

I am welcomed and cared for, safe and free from judgement and scorn.
I love and accept who and where I come from, confidently standing on the shoulders of my ancestors.
I am no longer consumed by guilt and shame and have the clarity to see beyond my worst fears and doubts with the utmost confidence in myself.
I recognize and celebrate my strengths and humbly embrace my weaknesses.
I flourish, thrive and joyfully celebrate my life with a deep sense of gratitude.
I fully trust my path and honor my choices, knowing that I am engaged in an unending process of renewal and growth.

It is a place where I have a true sense of belonging and can honestly and unapologetically be who I am right now in this moment.

It is a place where I am comfortable in my own skin.

“Maybe it is about waking up again and seeing with new eyes something that we lost but has always been inside us, waiting to be re-membered.”
                                                                                             Excerpt from The Remember Bones
written by Amy Grace Lam

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Hidden Narratives

Grace Hwang Lynch
As a writer, and I long to see myself reflected within the pages of books. Over the years, I’ve seen a hand-bound book that belongs to my family. Called a zú pu, it contains a family tree, plus photos, maps, and stories about my father’s Hwang family origins in China and migration to Taiwan. However, the family tree is patrilineal; it’s based on the father’s side, and traces the history back through men and their families. This makes it very difficult to trace the matrilineal line.

I’ve been working on a memoir tracing my experience as the daughter of immigrants who arrived in the United States at the early part of the post-1965 wave of people coming from Asia. Food, and the role it serves as a means of communication, figures prominently in my story. But I started to hit a road block in my writing – stymied by a scarcity of information and unable to make sense of my experiences. During the course of A Place of Her Own, I’ve been thinking about cultural, political, and family pressures to remain silent. I’ve often reflected back on this zú pu, and the feelings of invisibility or inconsequentiality that it stirs up in me.

Deconstructing the concept of a family tree book, I’ve overlaid the pages from the zú pu  and pages of my own manuscripts with images of women, past and present, who have influenced me.
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“My Favorite PLACE” subtitled
“Rumble Strip Nightmare on the I 80 to Winnemucca”

Maggie Yee
This painting hangs in my bedroom. Most mornings when I wake I see this peaceful painting of my daughter’s dog, Coco. Coco has since passed. She was a bundle of Jack Russell nerves, loved humans but despised her own species. Our road trip to Idaho for my son’s wedding took us through Nevada on the I 80. Highway construction was in the works and we had to divert to the shoulder of the road. We hit the rumble strips at 70 miles an hour and the noise terrified Coco. She squeezed her way from the back seat under the driver seat to under my feet operating the gas and brake pedals. My worst fears of not being able to break struck me with anxiety as we managed to pull off the road. The little devil was shaking with big sad eyes and I was panting heavily.
So, when I wake up in the morning in my most favorite PLACE in the world. I look at Coco and remember everything will be alright after a terrifying dream.

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Lisa Rodondi

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La Playa

Norma Carrera

I am 48 years old. Born in Veracruz, Mexico, I came to the United States 28 years ago.  I care deeply about and am very involved with my community. I am Latina and Spanish is my first language.
I live in free union of 29 years with my partner, Antonio. Married only through our hearts and our Mexican nationality. I have three wonderful children, who are my treasures. They are my life’s driving motivation. I hope they will never live with the hungry ghosts I grew up with.
My brother and I were raised by my parents, Elena and Jorge along with many relatives on my mother’s side.
I always thought there was something was wrong with me. I never fit in. I carried heavy guilt because I went against the grain of what was considered family treasures. Since childhood I thought differently from the rest of my mother’s extensive family.
A Place of Her Own has taught me that being different, acting and thinking different is not only NOT a bad thing, it’s something to be proud of. My hungry ghost was a belief that independent thinking was shameful because it went against my parental family’s values and life itself.
In our 2018 “Place” group, I was surprised to find out from the other women in our class, even though we are from different cultures and generations, that our childhood and current struggles are very similar.
I discovered that I am in this program on purpose.  I believe we’ve been called by God, the Angels and the Universe to challenge generations of our negative family patterns, hungry ghosts, mine being alcohol and domestic violence. “Place” showed me how to explore ingrained family traditions that had me bound and tied. I will stop these patterns for my children.
I chose the Beach as my place of my own, the sun, the sea, palm trees, music and meditation.
The marvelous sound of the sea relaxes me. Its both powerfully unstoppable yet peaceful.

Most importantly is the connection with God because in the end God is my only companion, in my best and worst moments and during my biggest decisions 

And so I am pleased to announce to everyone I have an angel and I now decide how to live without remorse or guilt. I choose to be happy and free from the family ghosts and I hope to create my own values/patterns ​​full of love and freedom with my husband, Antonio and my children: Antonio Julian and Helen 

And Ms. Norma Carrera 
With all my heart for my family, I hope they understand my rare character. 

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A Place of my Own is ever evolving. This is my second round of doing PLACE. Each round has felt like ripping off the bandage from a cut, cutting back the layers of an onion. It’s messy, hurts, and makes me cry.  Each round of PLACE has opened up the possibility of truly understanding what my place could be now in this moment. I decided to show my art that was created at the weekly circle/workshops. For me the weekly interactions of sharing and creating art together around the theme of each person’s trauma  was the HeART of the six month residency of PLACE. I didn’t want to show a “finished” art piece only. I wanted to show the courage it takes to stay on the journey of healing trauma. My pieces are battered and beautiful, just like my journey to heal. PAZ not a pretty piece of art for you, ultimately the art is for me and in sharing my journey with others may you find or continue to be a pattern breaker, healer and artistic creative force for your own life and well-being. All my relations.

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Detained Enemy Alien

Reiko Fujii
Detained Enemy Alien is a wearable glass kimono that eerily reflects the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII.  Its ghostly presence is a reminder of injustices today. With the light reflecting off the rich glass texture, the kimono acts as a multi-sensory tribute to her family and those of Japanese ancestry who were unjustly imprisoned.

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Four Desks for Four Femmes in Me

Teresa Jade LeYung
Four smoothened wood boxes represent my dream home ─ a place where I can balance the four areas of my life.  The green, blue, pink, gold (from paintings and mixed media art created by Cynthia Tom, Cris Matos, Chandra Garsson, Maria K.W. Leung) represent my affinity with Nature.
I dream of four desks so that I would not have to constantly clear off table space to make room for one project while having to put away my other projects.  
All that I do and want to do are equally precious to me.  Just as there are four points on a compass, my four desks will allow me to go forward with my work with clarity.
And, when I say work, I am talking about what makes me want to get up each morning with a smile on my face and a spring in my walk.  I think beauty. I become beauty.
I transform “I was” to “I AM”
I was a child witness to family violence. 
I was a frightened immigrant.
I was an adult receiver of violence.
I AM Teresa Jade LeYung who speaks openly through my writing and advocacy, my immigrant experience, and my knowing beauty.  As an author, a story consultant, and a found-object artist and student of A PLACE OF HER OWN, I empower women to transform their own stories.  I think beauty. I AM beauty.

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A Place of Her Own
Hungry Ghosts

A PLACE OF HER OWN program uses intuitive art making processes of self-reflection and group sharing to address ancestral and familial trauma. The process first brings to light our hungry ghosts (patterns born from past trauma) linked to individual, family, cultural, and historical dysfunction in a series of workshops. 
By challenging these ingrained patterns and beliefs, participants release their hungry ghosts and move on to realize their true aspirations and self-worth. The culminating art exhibition provides participants with a platform to artistically answer and share their response to: “If you had a place of your own, what would it be?”.
This artwork upends family and ancestral patterns to create an abundant vision for a world where women flourish on their own terms.
A PLACE OF HER OWN exhibition offers visitors interactive self-guided art stations to tap into their own inner wisdom and ancestral patterns through hands-on art-making
Exhibition sponsored in part by California Arts Council, Do A Little and individual donors.

Program Workshops sponsored in part by San Francisco Arts Commission, Pacific Asian American Women Bay Area Coalition, Do A Little Foundation, SF Realtors Association and individual donors. 

Special thanks to community partners AAWAA (Asian American Women Artists Association), Boys and Girls Clubs of SF and J-SEI.

We thank you for visiting.