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Creative Catalyst

2023-2024 Creative Catalyst Fellowship

The Creative Catalyst fellowship awards $30,000 to five artists to produce interdisciplinary art projects around critical issues impacting the AAPI community and activate civic engagement in the 2024 general elections. 

Fellows will create art that centers one of three themes – Voting Together, Solidarity, and Belonging – in mediums that include short videos, music, poetry, and multimedia art. Beyond the artwork itself, all of the projects will be released in time to interact with their audiences through educational toolkits, family and community dialogue, and ultimately, direct participation in the 2024 elections.

An illustration of GB Tran, wearing a plaid blue and yellow shirt. His skin is dark pink, and he is smiling with open eyes and thick eyebrows. He has one strand of hair on top of his head and three on either side. He is standing against a golden background with a sprinkle of blue and pink dots and white streaks, indicating movement.
GB (Gia-Bao) Tran

Theme: Voting Together

GB (Gia-Bao) Tran, a publishing cartoonist for 20 years, best known for his work Vietnamerica, a memoir of his family’s trauma, tragedy, and triumph as war refugees, will create a digital webcomic that will target the most ethnically diverse and second largest generational demographic in the United States: Gen Z.

Lehuauakea is standing on the shoreline, looking along her right shoulder at the viewer with her chin slightly raised. She wears a garland of green leaves, and clothing withe embroidered words and seashells.
Photo Credit: Moriel O’Connor

Theme: Belonging

Lehuauakea, a Native Hawaiian interdisciplinary artist and kapa maker from Pāpa’ikou, Hawai’i, with a particular focus on the labor-intensive making of kapa (traditional bark cloth), will create a series of 10-12 fine art illustrations and educational posters which include ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i (Native Hawaiian language), develop these into digital posters which will be shared free of charge with educators, and culminate the project with an empowering and inclusive gallery show.

Kat is posed at a desk, smiling at the camera while her chin rests on one hand. Paper and a pen are in front of her, while picture frames and plants are slightly blurred in the background.
Kat Evasco

Theme: Voting Together

Kat Evasco, an award-winning writer, theater maker, filmmaker, and cultural strategist, is creating a scripted short comedic film entitled Get Your Tita that tells the story of a Filipino American family coming together for the very first time to review and discuss ballot measures and candidates prior to the upcoming election.

Safwat is dressed in a black top, wearing glasses with dark frames. He stands across a background that is vibrantly lit with blue and green. He is looking up towards his left, so that we are looking at him while he is looking into the distance.
Photo Credit: Deanna Dent
Safwat Saleem

Theme: Belonging

Safwat Saleem, a multidisciplinary artist working to give visibility to Asian American and immigrant narratives, with a focus on cultural loss resulting from assimilation, will create the multimedia project, Anxieties of an Immigrant Father, which includes unique charts that map Safwat’s anxieties as an Asian American and immigrant father, drawings that chart the anxieties contributed by the larger AAPI community, and an audio component about the community’s anxieties going into an election year.

Sonny is wearing a black patterned vest over a long-sleeve white collared shirt. He is looking directly into the camera against a grey background.
Sonny K. Mehta & Aris Kian Brown

Theme: Solidarity

Sonny K. Mehta, a Houston-based musician and founder of Riyaaz Qawwali who performs folk music rooted in South Asian traditions, will collaborate with Aris Kian Brown to create videos that showcase the shared experiences of Asian American and Black communities; a visually compelling piece of artwork integrating poetry in both English and Urdu/Hindi; and an educational toolkit, facilitating critical conversations about solidarity, anti-Blackness, and allyship.

Aris Kian Brown headshot

Our Themes


Belonging is about a sense of home, being seen, and the mere but essential right to exist. Belonging is a counterweight to hate and violence and can advance a vision for the profound inclusion of communities.


Our fates are linked; when we support the Black struggle for liberation, we are supporting our collective liberation. We seek a re-envisioning of solidarity that simultaneously recognizes the AAPI experience with racism and oppression and how AAPIs have benefited from anti-Blackness. This theme is inspired by the importance of disrupting stereotypic tropes that limit and/or undermine authentic solidarity and offering an alternative vision.

Voting Together:

We lead by caring about each other. This theme is inspired by the importance of advocacy, voting, and becoming engaged in the issues that impact the lives of AAPIs and are of particular importance in the 2024 election. How will your vote show how you are caring for your community?

Previous Projects

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