From Fres Thao, Executive Director

Hello and Nyob Zoo!

During the past six years, my tenure as Youth Programs Director, Program Director, and Executive Director at the Center for Hmong Arts & Talent (CHAT) has been nothing short of pure excitement, joy and creativity.  I love CHAT and am profoundly proud of what the organization has been, is, and will continue growing to be.  I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to guide the organization, and grow along with the community of artists, youth and leaders who selflessly carry on CHAT’s mission of nurturing, exploring and illuminating the Hmong American experience through artistic expressions.  

That being said, it is with great sadness that I resign from my role at CHAT where I’ve been blessed to work alongside the most amazing and supportive team I’ve ever known.  I leave CHAT with much optimism and confidence in the hands of this excellent team and outstanding community of artists, youth and leaders.

From the Hmong Arts & Music Festival to the Fresh Traditions Fashion Show to every amazing event and program CHAT has offered or been a part of, I’ve been so fortunate to witness and experience firsthand the wonders of bringing community together through the arts.  With my ever evolving understanding of how crucial the arts is to our individual and collective growth, I’ve learned that creativity and innovation are directly connected to being an effective and empathetic leader, activist, and organizer.  I’ve learned that it’s important for us to utilize, and make art accessible as a means of education, expression, empowerment, documentation, truth-telling, and healing in order to progress and thrive.

Having been an artist, arts administrator and arts advocate for most of my life, I’ve been in dire need of time to reflect on my accomplishments and challenges, reinvigorate my purpose, re-energize, and reconnect with my roots in order to continue growing, creating meaningful art, and effectively supporting the community.  I’ve decided to spend the next few years traveling and exploring the world, creatively writing, and connecting with my roots.  This is both terrifying and exciting in equal measure, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and see where the wind takes you.

I’m proud to have been part of such an amazing team and community, and I wish CHAT only the finest in future endeavours.  CHAT has helped me develop and flourish as an artist, leader and activist, and I firmly believe if its ripples hasn’t inspired and affected you yet, it soon will.  I encourage each and everyone of you to continue supporting this wonderful organization.  

To those of you who have an interest in a life changing and affirming experience in the Hmong community and local Twin Cities art scene, I encourage you to consider applying to lead and usher the Center for Hmong Arts & Talent into the future.  For more information, visit .

My last official day at the Center for Hmong Arts & Talent will be on April 29, however I will still reachable at

Stay humble, and creative.


Fres Thao