Cultural Work

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Cultural Work 2017-02-10T01:45:36+00:00

By elevating members’ stories and connecting them to issues, APANO aims to advance a long-term cultural strategy to impact beliefs, actions and policies through centering the voices of those most impacted and silenced, resisting and shifting harmful narratives and ideas, and moving beyond defensive strategies to envisioning alternatives.

APANO believes that telling our stories, speaking truths, imagining alternatives and shifting social narratives matters as a strategy for cultural change, and as an area of emerging work, this strategy has captured the interest and excitement of our members. We are working to create a vibrant space where artists and communities are shifting perceptions and re-envisioning an equitable world through the tool of creative expression.

For information about APANO’s cultural work, contact Cultural Work and Development Coordinator, Candace Kita, at

Who We Are
The APANO Arts and Media Project (AMP) is a group of Asians and Pacific Islanders that identify as artists and creatives and believe that the platform of art and media can be used as tools for social change. By working with community members and APANO’s organizing programs, AMP strives to raise visibility of the issues impacting the community through various creative mediums.

The purpose of the APANO Arts & Media Project is to provide a space for Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the Portland Metropolitan area to engage with APANO’s mission and initiatives through creative and artistic methods. We encourage members to embrace their stories, strengthen their communication skills, and confidently express their experiences. By elevating API voices through a mix of traditional and nontraditional practices, the Arts & Media Project seeks to increase capacity for arts and media activism to thrive at APANO.

Get involved
We’re a multi-generational space that supports artists of all genres. If you’re interested in using your skills and talents to achieve social justice for API communities, come to our general membership meetings to learn more about how you can get involved. Contact Cultural Work Coordinator Candace Kita at

The Arts and Media Project leads the planning of the annual cultural event series, “Mic Check! Voices from the Margins”, a series of events, workshops, and performances that take place in late summer and fall, that focuses on highlighting the work of Asian and Pacific Islander artists and issues that impact our communities. “Mic check” has many iterations but we used the term for this series to highlight the usage during direct actions, a call-and-response technique for organizers to unite the crowd and spread their comments without instruments that support amplification. This repeat-after-me technique was popularized during the height of the occupy movement (read this The Nation article by Richard Kim for more context). The message of “mic check” is a way of letting a crowd know that someone is about to speak, and also a way for a group to support and amplify what’s being said. We recognize that the voices of those most affected by systems of oppression are powerful, but are often unheard or intentionally silenced. At APANO we are calling “mic check” to make space for them to speak and magnify their reach.

Visit the MicCheck! main page here.

Applications are now available for 2017 Jade Midway Placemaking Project Grants. Click here for the full application!

The Jade-Midway Creative Placemaking Projects are community engagement projects with the purpose of cultivating community building and consciousness raising of the residents that make up the Jade and Midway Districts. Projects are designed to create opportunities where community members and artists can work with local organizations and small businesses to develop a series of temporary performances, exhibitions, and installations, focusing on placemaking, social justice, economic development and community collaboration in order to challenge displacement and gentrification in the rapidly changing neighborhood. The Jade District (SE 82nd and Division) and Midway (SE 122nd and Division) are two of Portland’s Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative Districts that focus on a community driven approach to economic development. This strip of SE Division (East of 82nd Ave) and SE Powell (west of 82nd Ave) will be a major leg of the planned Powell Division High Capacity Transit Project that will connect Gresham with Portland. The projects are aimed to raise awareness of the issues that directly impact the communities that live and work in the neighborhoods, with the mission of ensuring that communities can remain rooted in the neighborhood and have access to resources that promote healthy and sustainable lives.

Read the Jade-Midway Districts Art Plan here

2016 Cohort and List of Events

2015 Cohort

We Carry Oceans is a collection of stories on bodies, sexuality, and reproductive justice within Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

The project was conceptualized and created by members of APANO’s Strong Families group, who recognized that talking about gender, sexuality, sex and reproductive health, particularly abortion, is still taboo in many of our families. We reached out to our communities to bravely break silence around those issues, create spaces to continue having these conversations with each other, and highlight the real barriers our families and communities face, in order to name our desires for change and possibilities for action.

Visit the project here.