“At First Site: Arts Activism on First Street North, Little Tokyo” will be presented on Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo.

Presented by Visual Communications and JANM at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum. Reception at 6 p.m.; program starts at 7 p.m.

In conjunction with the JANM exhibition “At First Light,” the program will showcase local artists who use their work to resist and organize. The program grounds itself in a history of activism and the anti-displacement movement in Little Tokyo through archival footage as well as the current projects of artists today.

Calligrapher Kuniharu Yoshida’s short documentary “First Street North” will have its L.A. premiere, along with a sneak peek of one of the films on exhibit in “At First Light.”

After the films, hear from an intergenerational and cross-community panel of arts activists who will discuss the powerful role art can play in the fight to preserve Little Tokyo against displacement.

“1970s: The Fight for Little Tokyo” by Visual Communications recalls the redevelopment struggle and the fight for housing, services, equal pay, and the future of Little Tokyo through the accounts of Evelyn Yoshimura, Mark Masaoka, David Monkawa and Lucien Kubo.

“First Street North” follows Yoshida as he experiences Little Tokyo’s long-lasting history, the threats it faces, and why so many people call it home.


June Kuramoto is the kotoist in the jazz band Hiroshima, of which she is a founding member.

Zen Sekizawa is a photographer, director, community activist, and co-owner of Manyo Ya, a custom object and furniture shop.

Amy Sanchez Arteaga of Cog•nate Collective is an artist-in-residence through the Little Tokyo Service Center.

Curlydynamite is a poet and teaching artist heavily involved in trans and queer youth advocacy.

There will be a performance by Steady — spoken-word artists, community organizers, and the founders of Sunday Jump, a community open-mic series in Historic Filipinotown.

In the lobby after the program, get a chance to meet Yoshida and receive a word of your choice in calligraphy. With Artist-in-Residence traci akemi kato-kiriyama, write letters to the future of Little Tokyo and share what your future solidarity looks like.

This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended. Learn more at http://vcmedia.org/atfirstsite.

Sponsored by Cafe Dulce, Far Bar Little Tokyo, Fugetsu-Do, Spitz-Little Tokyo, and Trader Joe’s-LosAngeles.

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