Little Tokyo Service Center Announces +LAB Artist Residency Program Fellows

Artists will Create Works Related to Community Control and Self-Determination

Susu Attar, Dan Kwong, Tina Takemoto and Kuniharu Yoshida

For Immediate Release
March 8, 2018

Little Tokyo Service Center
231 E Third Street, G106
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Contact: Mark Robbins, mrobbins@ltsc.org

Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) is pleased to announce the artists selected for its inaugural +LAB Artist Residency Program in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. These California-based artists were awarded three-month community based residencies from over a hundred applicants.

The Inaugural +LAB Artist Residency Program Fellows are:

  • Susu Attar, Visual Artist, Los Angeles
  • Dan Kwong, Performance Artist, Los Angeles
  • Tina Takemoto, Visual Artist, Daly City
  • Kuniharu Yoshida, Traditional Artist, Torrance

The four Artist Fellows were chosen from a talented pool of candidates in an open call by a panel of professionals from the Little Tokyo community and the program’s partner organizations. They were chosen based on the strength of their artistic work and their demonstrated desire to work collaboratively within a community context and address issues related to LTSC’s mission of promoting “positive change for people and places.”

During their residency, the Fellows will create artworks and projects promoting community engagement and creative place-making strategies, focused around the theme of “Community Control and Self-Determination.” The residency program is designed to immerse artists in the experience of the Little Tokyo community by living at the Daimaru Hotel and creating art in Little Tokyo cultural institutions.

In a unique collaboration with LTSC, local arts organizations will co-host the Fellows as well as provide them with staff support, studio and workspace. Participating organizations include: the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, the Japanese American National Museum, Sustainable Little Tokyo and Visual Communications.

“We are eager to welcome the Fellows for our first residency program to Little Tokyo,” said LTSC Executive Director Dean Matsubayashi. “We look forward to these talented artists immersing themselves in Little Tokyo life, sharing their talents and impacting our community through their work.”

“JACCC is honored to host a +LAB artist in residence to enhance our work as a cultural institution. Integrating artists into our collective work as one of the oldest neighborhoods in LA. will help us not only sustain, but thrive as a community,” said Leslie A. Ito, president and CEO of JACCC.

“The Japanese American National Museum is proud to be collaborating with the Little Tokyo Service Center and the other co-host venues for this new Artist Residency Program. The four Fellows are all talented and I know that the work they produce as part of this program will contribute greatly to the vibrant neighborhood that is Little Tokyo today and inspire the community’s residents, business owners and visitors,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of JANM.

“Sustainable Little Tokyo is excited to partner for the inaugural LTSC +LAB Arts Residency program. Arts and culture have been vital to the growth of our 134-year old neighborhood—from the early Buddhist temples to the creation of JACCC in 1980 to Tuesday Night Cafe in the 90s. Artists will be key in the continued struggle to sustain our historic and cultural roots. We hope this program will exemplify the kind of impact artists can create in a community when given the needed resources, space, and support,” said Scott Oshima, JACCC lead community organizer and Sustainable Little Tokyo project manager.

“Visual Communications is excited to co-create with our partner organizations and work with talented artists who will be experiencing the local spaces and places that we navigate. We are also look forward to learning through the experiences that these artists bring to us,” said VC 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

Susu Attar

Susu Attar is a multimedia artist born in Baghdad and raised in Los Angeles. Her works draw from life in both cities, exploring the space between diasporic memory and the documentation of loss. By highlighting the visual vocabulary of early home photography, the work distinguishes itself from today’s selfie culture. Utilizing paint to remind the viewer that what they see is not reality but an object, her work aims to move away from the false sense of actuality that photography often transmits and toward the possibilities of imagination. In April 2017, Attar curated “ICONIC Black Panther: Los Angeles” at Gregorio Escalante Gallery in LA’s Chinatown for SEPIA Art Collective. The exhibition featured works from over 50 artists exploring the 50-year history of the Black Panther Party. Attar received her Bachelors of Arts in Painting and Conceptual Information Art from San Francisco State University in 2007. Learn more at www.susuattar.com.

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Dan Kwong

Dan Kwong is an award-winning performance artist, director and teacher who has been touring his solo multimedia performances since 1989. He has performed in over 40 states in the US and in England, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea, China and Japan. His book “From Inner Worlds to Outer Space: The Multimedia Performances of Dan Kwong” was published by University of Michigan Press. This year, he is deeply involved in Little Tokyo with three major art projects: participating as artist/designer in “The LT Open” miniature golf course exhibition April 21-29; performing “What? No Ping-Ping Balls?,” his solo show about his Nisei mother Momo Nagano, at JANM’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum on June 1-3; and participating in this pilot program of the LTSC +LAB Artist Residency. Kwong is currently a Resident Artist at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica and serves as Associate Artistic Director for Great Leap. Learn more at www.dankwong.com.

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Tina Takemoto

Tina Takemoto is an artist and scholar whose work explores the hidden dimensions of same-sex intimacy and queer sexuality for Japanese Americans incarcerated by the US government during World War II. Takemoto has presented artwork nationally and internationally, receiving grants from Art Matters, Fleishhacker Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, and San Francisco Arts Commission. Takemoto has exhibited and performed at Contemporary Jewish Museum, Asian Art Museum, Oceanside Museum of Art, GLBT History Museum, New Conservatory Theatre, Sabina Lee Gallery, Sesnon Gallery, SF Camerawork, SOMArts, SFMOMA and the Vargas Museum. Her films have screened at Ann Arbor Film Festival, Outfest, CAAMfest, MIX New York Queer Experimental Film Festival, Hamburg Queer Film Festival, MIX Milano, Rio Gay Film Festival, Seoul’s International Women’s Film Festival, and Queer Forever! Film Festival Hanoi. In addition, Takemoto serves on the board of Queer Cultural Center and is co-founder of Queer Conversations on Culture and the Arts. Learn more at www.ttakemoto.com.

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Kuniharu Yoshida

Kuniharu Yoshida is a Japanese calligrapher and hip-hop dancer who teaches Calligraphy and Japanese language at the Fuji School at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. He collaborates with artists to combine sublime arts from both traditions, merging the traditional with the contemporary. Respect between cultures is the foundation of Kuniharu’s unique work, designed to intertwine not just art but also audiences. He finds art is a great way to increase understanding amongst people of varied backgrounds while communicating one’s culture in a simple and easy to understand manner. He will also be part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum’s Uneo Artist Project “Calligraphy Appreciation 1-2-3” (a tentative title) in November 2018. Kuniharu has been involved in various Little Tokyo events such as Nisei Week and looks forward to deepening his connection to the community. Learn more at www.groovyboogie92.wix.com/the-artist-jp.

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ABOUT LTSC

Little Tokyo Service Center is a social service and community development organization that has been creating positive change for the people and places in Southern California for more than 37 years. We preserve and strengthen the unique ethnic communities of our region and help people thrive. Starting with our own home in Little Tokyo, we build and strengthen communities throughout Southern California where people, culture and our collective future matter.

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