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GYOPO has a decentralized structure with a volunteer board of directors and steering committee, ensuring equitable and democratic decision-making. The eight-person Steering Committee includes professionals from across the arts and culture, academic, and activist sectors, which allows for each individual to flex their particular talent. This core group manages daily operations and co-chairs six volunteer subcommittees (Communications, Development, Programs, Production, Strategy/New Initiatives, and Finance) which comprise 54+ AAPI arts and cultural workers. Subcommittee volunteers from across the Southern California region take on recurring roles or one-time assignments, dividing work efficiently to avoid burnout. Volunteers are encouraged to join a subcommittee based on their interests, expertise, and desire for career ambition. GYOPO’s programs committee meets quarterly to propose new programs and go over proposals from the community. Care is taken to look at programs from the previous calendar year to ensure variety in programming and prevent overlap. Programming decisions are made by consensus, and production is supported by the board, GYOPO subcommittees, and institutional partners when applicable. Programs are developed in collaboration with invited participants, and take on a diverse variety of formats as appropriate to the participants’ work or message. The production committee handles logistical support, and the communications committee develops a visual identity and promotion strategy for each program. Current Steering Committee members hold or have held positions at several notable museums, institutions, and galleries or serve on their boards, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Tate Modern, the Hammer Museum, Human Resources LA, Commonwealth & Council, UC Irvine, and UC Riverside, Claremont Graduate University, Korea Arts Foundation of America, Momenta Art, CAA, and Korean American Museum. These connections provide top industry expertise and inroads to facilitate successful programs. Many of our steering committee members also participate or volunteer for community action groups, which enables thoughtful intersectional programming. For example, two of our steering committee members are founders of Koreatown 4 Black Lives (Ktown4BL), a non-affiliated collective of activists that meet monthly for political education in English, Spanish, and Korean, and collect donations for redistribution. Five of our steering committee members were founding members of Stop DiscriminAsian.
About the Organization:
$100,000 - $500,000
Creative expression and artistic excellence are hallmarks of American culture, yet it is surprising how narrow and exclusive the art world is when it comes to ensuring the diverse populations of our country are well represented. A comprehensive analysis conducted in 2019 and funded by Williams College found that within permanent collections across the US, 85% of artists are white. And a recent study from investment bank UBS and Arts Economics published in 2022 discovered that 47% of United States museums focus on just the top 4% of contemporary artists. Consequently, art by Asian Americans especially works made before 1960, remains underrepresented in major collections and art historical scholarship. The largest Korean Diaspora community in the U.S. lives in Los Angeles, and the dearth of Korean and Asian Americans within the cultural sector exacerbates feelings of alienation and unwelcome among immigrants of these communities, contributing to their wider marginalization in other sectors. Moreover, the fragmentation within our society between artistic and cultural genres, as well as division more broadly amongst marginalized communities, is a major barrier to awareness, connection, and empowerment. For example, the impact of police brutality on Black communities and the experiences of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic are not wholly unrelated to the problems of underrepresentation among artists of the Korean diaspora. The separation of these issues creates harmful divisiveness that prevents tangible progress. If intersectionality is the acknowledgment of unique experiences of discrimination and oppression, and that all factors must be considered–gender, race, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc.– in order to empower individuals and create viable solutions, there is a crucial need for AAPI programs that speak to the multifaceted nature of the challenges we face.
GYOPO’s activities seek to develop a more vital sense of agency and progress amongst individuals of the Korean diaspora within LA and connection to the broader Asian American communities by amplifying the intersectional and interdisciplinary stories of the artists and cultural producers working within them. Our programs strike a balance between creating dedicated spaces for “gyopo” (a term that refers to persons of Korean descent who live outside Korea) and providing free forums for intergenerational, intersectional, and cross-cultural discussions. Our approach generates solidarity within the Korean diaspora while demonstrating the value of coalition-building amongst Asian Americans as well as exchange between other immigrants or marginalized groups. GYOPO’s program is built upon a flexible, collaborative model that increases unity within the AAPI community and enables us to pivot quickly in response to shifting needs. Programs are developed as partnerships with arts and cultural institutions and nonprofits across diverse sectors and activist issues, and our focus areas have evolved over time. For instance, three new series were introduced in 2020: Racism Is a Public Health Issue , Coalition Building in Action , and Our Mental Health and Community-Centered Practices of Care . Together, they address needs that stem from the racial and social inequities heightened by COVID-19. For Racism is a Public Health Issue, GYOPO partnered with Arte Américas , For Freedoms , LACMA , and Stop DiscriminAsian , inviting speakers to discuss anti-Asian racism, the impacts of police brutality on Black communities, and experiences of frontline workers during the pandemic. Panelists represented literature (author Cathy Park Hong), film and entertainment (director Ava DuVernay), academia (Darnell Hunt, Professor of Sociology, UCLA), and labor rights (Dolores Huerta). Similarly, Our Mental Health spotlighted Korean and Asian American mental health practitioners whose work enriches traditional therapeutic approaches by centering racial and social justice, community care, and who, in addition to being therapists, are cultural workers. In another example of our responsiveness to community feedback, GYOPO hosted a conversation with the team behind Minari , the Academy Award-winning film about Korean American immigrants in the 80s. This generated a healing conversation to address the Golden Globes controversy, which marginalized Korean American experiences as "foreign."