Axis 3: Securing Cultural Democracy & Representation

Shifting debates within identity-based politics pose programmatic challenges for arts organizations. Criticisms of “tokenism,” in which slots or performances are directed towards a specific underrepresented community, address the statistical evidence that within our field, the majority or mainstream culture is still identified as white and primarily male.

This problem is pervasive within the landscape, where intellectual and economic biases establish further limitations on the accessibility of the experimental arts, creating a cycle of exclusion in which artists and audiences do not feel invited to participate. And while funding has been provided to support the diversification of institutions, institutions require more than coercive support from the funding community, as the management of these shifts require long-term support of organizations to truly make a change. Furthermore, the lack of people of color not only in arts funding, but in philanthropy in general, poses another layer of complications to the way wealth is distributed to artists of color, especially considering the fact that few wealthy people of color start foundations to support other people of color.

How can we diversify audiences, work, and artistic leadership? How do we address the value of racial and social justice in artistic programming? How do we become socially responsible and address racism, ageism, sexism, or other types of ableism?

Redistribution of Power (2020 – 2023)

Kyoung’s Pacific Beat was honored to facilitate the Mosaic Network and Fund 2020 Learning Exchange Series, an iterative series of multiracial, virtual gatherings whose goals were to 1) model transformative ways exemplary arts organizations of color and arts funders can work at the pace of trust; 2) redistribute power between ALAANA arts and cultural groups and arts funders to spark our radical imaginations; and 3) center liberation work as a collective, everyday practice in New York City’s arts and culture sector.

Intention, Accountability and Equity (2015-2018)

Kyoung’s Pacific Beat was honored to be part of The Field’s 2015-2017 Field Leadership Fund (FLF), an ambitious program designed to move arts administrators into more resilient and financially viable careers in the arts and to move artists and arts organizations into new stages of work that push their visions forward.

Click here to learn more about FLF and The Field’s “Intention, Accountability and Equity” Report.

Literature and Social Justice (2016 – 2022)

Black & Asian Book Club (2022)

Kyoung’s Pacific Beat is thrilled to host a Black & Asian Book Club, in partnership with The Blasian March, Asians4Abolition, GAPIMNY, Indie Space and The Exponential Festival. This Book Club invites our community to examine our shared histories of Black and Asian solidarity work through literature and social gatherings in order to amplify abolitionist discourse in our community.

A Black LGBT woman, labeled a terrorist for uplifting Black life, must survive the horrors of policing in modern times. A Japanese American gay man recounts his childhood in the inhumane camps, when the U.S. government called all Japanese and their descendants the enemy. In this book club, we examine how incarceration impacts Black and Asian communities through the memoirs of Patrisse Cullors (When They Call You a Terrorist) and George Takei (They Called Us Enemy).

Rohan Zhou-Lee (Founder, The Blasian March) and Stephanie Hsu (Board Co-Chair, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat) will moderate our virtual launch on Tuesday, May 17th with guest speakers Sneha George and Ishmael Thaahir. An in-person discussion will be held on Sunday, June 12th, 2022.

Literature and Social Justice (2017)

“Literature and Social Justice” is a seminar designed for Ewha Women’s University to engage graduate students in social justice discourse through literature. Students worked on independent research projects while participating in facilitated conversations that examined how creative writers engage with progressive politics to further our understanding of social issues. How does language and art serve communities?

Creating Peace Through Art, Multnomah County Library October 2, 2016, Portland

Latin@ Diversity/Divergent Aesthetics (2014-2016)

K-ONDA Hamlet (Fragmentos) (2015-2016)

K-Onda Hamlet is an experimental, dance-theater piece that explores the Korean pop phenomenon in Chile. This piece was written/directed by Kyoung H. Park and is based on local interviews, Heiner Muller’s HAMLETMACHINE, and K-Pop choreographies. In performance, seven Chilean teenagers tell their stories in search of their artistic identity as an “Other” living in the peripheries of their society, drawing connections between Chile’s K-Pop dancing community and the Zamudio Law, Chile’s first anti-hate crime legislation.

K-Onda Hamlet was developed at Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM) in Santiago, Chile on Jan. 2016, with support from Theater Communication Group’s Global Connections Program, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Morley: Circle Round Dignity, Courage & Survival. David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, April 2016, New York City

Download “Nuevas Practicas de la Juventud Chilena: Danzas K-Pop, los Proximos Pasos”, written by Kyoung and published by Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, part of Chile’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.

Observatorio Cultural, 31st Edition, Chile’s National Council for Arts and Culture

Immigrant Poets of New York (2014)

“Old Age” by Pei Lin Yu. Performance Project @ University Settlement, Speyer Hall. Nov. 18, 2014, New York City

“Immigrant Poets in New York” is a community-based story sharing session in which senior, Chinese-American students from the University Settlement read poems and stories about their immigrant experiences, inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Poet in New York.” Created in collaboration with Korean-Chilean playwright Kyoung H. Park and the University Settlement’s Adult Literacy Program, “Immigrant Poets in New York” also featured an open mic session, inviting community members to share their own stories and shed light on the realities on which we build the American Dream.

Read more about “Immigrant Poets in New York” on The Lo-Down.

Latin@ Diversity / Divergent Aesthetics (2014)

How does your identity inform the work you do aesthetically as a Latino theater artist, what visions do you have for it, and what type of support would be ideal for you to receive from the New York Latino theater community to make art? These questions, and more, were addressed in a video-chat between Tiffany Vega and David Mendizábal with Christina Quintana and Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, followed by statements from New York Alliance of Latino/a Theatre Artists (Raquel Almazán, Beto O’Byrne, Claudia Acosta) and The Sol Project (Jacob Padrón).

This session was co-curated by Alison Lyman and Kyoung H. Park, and part of 2014 Latinx Theatre Commons Encuentro and Celebración. Learn more about the Latinx Theatre Commons and The Sol Project.

Brooklyn Commune – Cultural Democracy and Representation Team (2013-2014)

The Brooklyn Commune was a grassroots initiative originally organized by Culturebot.org and The Invisible Dog Art Center to educate, activate and unify performing artists of all disciplines to work together towards a more equitable, just and sustainable arts ecology in America. The events and research were documented and disseminated through the publication of “The View From Here” which was launched in January 2014.

Kyoung spearheaded the Brooklyn Commune’s Cultural Democracy and Representation Research Team.

Download “Creating Outside the Box,” The Brooklyn Commune’s Cultural Democracy and Representation Team Final Report written by Kyoung H. Park.

Download “Cultural Democracy and Representation,” written by Kyoung H. Park.

View “The View From Here,” The Brooklyn Commune’s Final Report.