"At First Site" at Tateuchi Democracy Forum on August 15th

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Visual Communications Celebrates Arts Activists in Their Work to Create Change

[LOS ANGELES] - On Thursday, August 15 at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum, Visual Communications and the Japanese American National Museum will present the program “At First Site,” in conjunction with the exhibit “At First Light,” at 7:00pm, with a reception at 6:00pm.

“At First Site” shares the perspective of arts activists on how they 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. The night will be the LA premiere of Kuniharu Yoshida’s film, FIRST STREET NORTH,  which captures the legacy of resistance in the community and the reasons so many call it home. After the films, an intergenerational and cross-community panel of art activists will discuss the powerful role art can play in the fight to preserve Little Tokyo against displacement.

“It is so special that with the Visual Communications Archives, we have the chance to track a history of resistance in Little Tokyo,” said Sarah Rozario, Visual Communications’ Exhibition Associate.  “I’m eager to hear from artists of various communities in conversation to see how they’ve continued resisting through art and the progress they’ve accomplished. My hope is that the program will engage Little Tokyo residents and allies in building solidarity between our networks to continue fighting for the future of our homes.”

The program will include:

FILMS

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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 Masoka, David Monkawa and Lucien Kubo.

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FIRST STREET NORTH, by Kuniharu Yoshida, follows Yoshida, a calligrapher, as he experiences Little Tokyo’s long lasting history, the threats it faces, and why so many people call it home.

PANEL

featuring the following:

JUNE KURAMOTO is a professional kotoist in the jazz band, Hiroshima. Born in Saitama ken, Japan and raised in Los Angeles, June has been the driving artistic force of Hiroshima, creating a multi-cultural music statement combining koto with jazz. 

ZEN SEKIZAWA is a photographer, director, community activist, and co owner of MANO YA, a custom object and furniture shop. Her creative work is influenced by growing up in Los Angeles, and wanting to preserve the diverse cultures in the face of gentrification and redevelopments. 

AMY SANCHEZ ARTEAGA is currently an artist in residence through the Little Tokyo Service Center. Arteaga is ½ of Cog•nate Collective, an artist duo with Misael Diaz. They develop public interventions through research which take place across Tijuana, MX, Santa Ana, CA and Los Angeles, CA. Their site specific projects center issues on the US-Mexican Border, migration, and citizenship. 

CURLYDYNAMITE is a nationally known community organizer activist and teaching artist. They have been doing poetry for 4 years, having worked with organizations such as 4c-lab, Streetpoets, step up women’s network, roots 4 peace, United way, sisters of south la—GSA network and many others. Curlydynamite goes by all pronouns, and have heavily been involved in trans and queer youth advocacy.

PERFORMANCE

STEADY- Stephanie Sajor and Eddy M. Gana Jr. are spoken word artists and community organizers based in Los Angeles. They are founders of Sunday Jump, a community open mic series in Historic Filipinotown, and are leaders of KmB / Pro-People Youth, a progressive grassroots organization. Since meeting at UC Irvine, they have performed their poetry, facilitated workshops, and delivered keynotes on the radio, television, and stages across the nation. As organizers, they believe that the arts serve as an important avenue for personal growth, developing community activists, and ultimately, greater social change. They are also married.

ARTS IN ACTION

Join us in the lobby after the program to take your art into action!

CALLIGRAPHY WITH KUNI- 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 merge the traditional with the contemporary.

LETTER WRITING WITH TRACI- traci kato-kiriyama is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer/author, actor, arts educator & community organizer. She is the Co-Founder and Director for Tuesday Night Project, presenter of the Tuesday Night Cafe Series now in its 18th year and the longest-running Asian American mic series in the country. As an Artist Organizer - she speaks, teaches courses on the relationship between wellness, creativity and community engagement and facilitates artist-community collaborations through countless organizations & partnerships.

“At First Site” will be presented at 111 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012 at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in conjunction with At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America. There will be a reception with snacks and refreshments at 6:00 pm in the NCPD lobby, and the program will begin at 7:00 pm.

The event is free, but RSVPs are recommended. Click here to RSVP.

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