Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) last week announced the selection of five artist fellows for the second annual +LAB Artist Residency Program in Little Tokyo.

The creative place-keeping residency will focus on the forces of displacement impacting Little Tokyo.

This year’s program theme, “Ending Cycles of Displacement,” will explore how creative strategies and artistic interventions can help combat the negative impacts of development, which threaten the future sustainability of the Little Tokyo community. The selected California artists will work in collaboration with community stakeholders as part of a three-month immersive residency to create projects related to the program theme.

The 2019 +LAB Artist Residency Program Fellows are:

• traci kato-kiriyama, Los Angeles

• Isak Immanuel and Marina Fukushima (team), San Francisco

• Misael Diaz and Amy Sanchez Arteaga (team), Santa Ana

The fellows were chosen from a talented pool of candidates, based on the strength of their artistic portfolios and their demonstrated desire to work collaboratively to address challenges facing communities of color. They will be encouraged to initiate projects that the Little Tokyo community can carry forward after the conclusion of the residency.

Throughout the program, the fellows will live in the historic Daimaru building on First Street in Little Tokyo. Daimaru, a former hotel with deep roots in the Little Tokyo community, is now owned and operated as an apartment building by LTSC.

Each artist or team will be paired with one of the following program partners: Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC), Sustainable Little Tokyo (SLT), Visual Communications (VC) and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). The partner organizations will co-host the fellows as well as provide them with staff support, studio and workspace.

In addition to local artists and experts from the Little Tokyo community, the fellows will receive input from various community members and stakeholders—particularly those who are traditionally left out of planning processes, such as lower-income residents, small business owners and those experiencing homelessness.

“The 2018 cohort of artists exceeded our expectations with the creative energy, camaraderie and enthusiasm they brought to Little Tokyo,” said LTSC Director of Planning Grant Sunoo. “We are excited to see our next group of artists build on the impact of the Artist in Residency program.”

“JACCC is excited to welcome our artists-in-residence onto our campus, and see how these artists will expand our work as a hub of Japanese and Japanese American arts, culture, and community,” said JACCC Master Artist-in-Residence Hirokazu Kosaka.

“The Japanese American National Museum is proud to once again be collaborating with the Little Tokyo Service Center and the other co-host venues for the Artist Residency Program,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of JANM. “The artist we hosted last year, Dan Kwong, engaged our community to document stories from this historic district. Those stories were then shared with the public in a moving and thought-provoking performance at JANM’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum. We look forward to hosting another artist this year, who we know will continue this meaningful engagement with the second-oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles and contribute greatly to the cultural vitality of Little Tokyo.”

Scott Oshima, JACCC lead community organizer and Sustainable Little Tokyo project manager, explained, “Artists have always been a vital part of the growth of our historic Japantown, and Sustainable Little Tokyo is eager to see how this second year of artists-in-residence become part of the fight for our future.”

“Visual Communications is looking forward to engaging issues in our local community through our artists and cultural institutions,” said Visual Communications Executive Director Francis Cullado.

The +LAB Artist Residency Program is funded by a Community Development Investments (CDI) grant from ArtPlace America. LTSC was one of six organizations selected for the program, which explores how community-based organizations — not previously focused on arts and culture — can make the arts a sustainable part of their work,

Artist Bios

Traci kato-kiriyama, an award-winning artist, cultural producer, and community organizer, is the principal author of PULLproject Ensemble, who just concluded the world premiere of their latest play, “Tales of Clamor,” at the Aratani Theatre Black Box in Little Tokyo. She is also the director/co-founder of Tuesday Night Project, presenter of Tuesday Night Café, now entering its 21st year as the oldest Asian American public art series in the country.

For over the past 20 years, she has been presented as an author, performer/actor, arts & culture specialist, artist-in-residence, educator, and community organizer by hundreds of venues across the nation (including The Getty Foundation; Hammer Museum; Skirball Cultural Center; Asian Arts Initiative; LaMaMa Cabaret; Smithsonian), and published and featured in several print, online and media platforms (including Tia Chucha; Chapparal Canyon; Bamboo Ridge; Regent Press;; The Hollywood Reporter; KPCC; C-SPAN; NPR; PBS).

Isak Immanuel and Marina Fukushima have worked together on several uniquely composed intergenerational dance performances. Focused on local/global questions of place, family, community, and instability, projects have been researched and presented in the San Francisco Bay Area and internationally, including at Headlands Center for the Arts, NOHspace, CounterPulse, Kinosaki International Art Center, and TPAM (Tokyo/Yokohama Performing Arts Meeting). In 2018, they collaborated with locals to develop “Things Evaporate – dances of sickness and health” as artist-in-residents in Beppu, Japan.

Fukushima was born in Tokyo and immigrated to the U.S. in 1992. Specializing in dance, she received a BFA from Butler University (2001) and an MFA from the University of Iowa (2005).

Immanuel grew up in Taos, N.M. and East Los Angeles. He founded Tableau Stations, an intercultural arts platform, in 2004. He received a BFA in Interdisciplinary Practices from California College of the Arts (1999).

Misael Diaz and Amy Sanchez Arteaga (a.k.a. the Cog•nate Collective) have worked across disciplines and mediums since 2010 to engage transnational communities in dialogue on subjects relating to migration, economic displacement, and border enforcement. Undertaken as collaborations with community leaders, students and/or non-profit organizations, their work takes on forms that include “protest-art-making” workshops in swap meets, performative tours narrating histories of immigrant communities confronting gentrification, and roving hyper-local radio stations.

Their most recent projects reimagine modalities for understanding and enacting citizenship: analyzing ways that individuals and communities (re)claim their agency – in quotidian spaces, through everyday actions – in defiance of political (de)limitations.

Cog•nate has shown and presented at various venues nationally and internationally, including the Ben Maltz Gallery, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, CSUF Grand Central Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, School of the Art Institute Chicago, Arte Actual FLACSO in Quito, and the Organ Kritischer Kunst in Berlin.

(Editor’s note: The print version of this story featured six artists, but one of them has since withdrawn.)

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