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Japanese American National Museum Launches Social Justice Art Project

Four illustrated flash cards representing aspects of Asian American community values
Created by CalArts alum Audrey Chan and jason chu, their flash card sets portray figures, events, and practices rooted in community care and action. | Courtesy of JANM and the artists.

In response to the increase in anti-Asian violence around the country, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles (JANM) hosts a free community event on Saturday, Oct. 8 that launches a new, collaborative social justice art project, An American Vocabulary: Words to Action.

Created by artist and CalArts alum Audrey Chan (Art MFA 07) and jason chu, the art project consists of 21 multilingual flash cards in a set that “portray figures, events, and actions illustrating the four themes of voice, ancestor, persistence, and care to build solidarity among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities during a time of increased racist violence and hate.”

The launch event includes live music from chu, percussionist Gingee, and DJ Grace Ktown; an art demonstration; and community Asian Pacific Islander organizations. The first 300 people to RSVP will receive a free set of An American Vocabulary flashcards when they check in on the day of the event. 

Chan, a visual artist and educator, and chu, a spoken word artist and rapper, are the 2022 artists of the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, a yearlong collaborative fellowship between JANM and the civil rights organization, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California.

With a portfolio of research-based projects that use drawing, painting, public art, and video to “challenge dominant historical narratives through allegories of power, place, and identity,” Chan’s work has been exhibited in galleries in Southern California and New York City, as well as in Asia and Europe. She was previously the inaugural artist-in-residence at the ACLU of Southern California (2019-20).

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Christine N. Ziemba

Christine is the director of Content at CalArts, responsible for the Institute's editorial in both print and online platforms. In addition, she oversees CalArts' social media accounts. In her spare time, she writes about the Santa Clarita food scene at

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Japanese American National Museum Launches Social Justice Art Project