Category Archives: Artists

Photo Credit: InProgress

Calling all Hmong Fashion Designers and Aspiring Designers!


Calling all Hmong fashion designers (and aspiring designers), Fresh Traditions wants to feature YOUR collection in 2015! Applications are now available! Application due date: January 16, 2015. Good Luck!

Click the links below
Fresh Traditions Designer Guidelines
Fresh Traditions Designer Application

CCC Playwriting w May Lee Yang

CHAT CRASH COURSE: Playwriting with May Lee-Yang

CCC Playwriting w May Lee Yang


PLAYWRITING with May Lee-Yang

Monday, December 22nd, 4:30-7:30pm

Center for Hmong Arts & Talent in partnership with Intermedia Arts
is offering a great and FREE opportunity for artists of ALL AGES!

No experience necessary!

Work closely with local poet, and award-winning playwright
May Lee-Yang to learn the basic fundamentals of writing plays!
Using writing exercises, inspiration from other artists, and improv,
you and May Lee-Yang will create short plays that you will get to
share aloud.

CHAT Crash Courses take place at
Center for Hmong Arts & Talent
995 University Avenue, Studio 220, St. Paul, Minnesota

Advanced registration preferred.
To enroll or for more information, or 6516036971

BIO: May Lee-Yang is an award-winning playwright and performance artist. She is most well-known for her play, Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman, which has been toured nationally and was translated into a Hmong-language production. She often teaches theater and creative writing through COMPAS, Mu Performing Arts, the St. Paul Public Library, and Letters to Our Grandchildren, a theater project with Hmong elders.


CHAT’s YouTube & Media Internship

CHAT’s YOUTUBE & Media Internship

Do you like watching YOUTUBE videos? Do you enjoy making videos? Do you have an eye for video storytelling?!? OKAY! If you answered yes to any of those questions, we need you!

Intern at the Center for Hmong Arts & Talent and work closely with CHAT’s Staff and creative team to develop video content for CHAT’s YOUTUBE channel! You’ll have the opportunity to think outside the box, use your creativity, meet talented artist, attend live performances, shows, festivals, and have tons of fun at the same time! As CHAT’s YOUTUBE & Media intern, you have full access to all CHAT events and programs, including our annual Fresh Traditions Fashion Show, Youth Leadership Group Theater Production, Art Saves Us Talent Showcase, Arts and Music Festival, and many more exciting events!

The ideal candidate for CHAT’s YOUTUBE/Media internship should have:

• Experience handling a camera
• Experience editing video on a PC and/or Mac
• Familiarity with Social Media, such as Facebook & Twitter
• Interest in sourcing and discovering what’s “in” and “happening!”
• Potential to deliver videos that clearly tell the desired story
• Excellent verbal and communication skill
• Attention to details
• Self-starting attitude
• Organizational skills
• The ability to meet deadlines
• The independence to work solo, and the ethics to work well in a team
• Creativity!
• A passion for the arts
• A really cool personality! *must have at least 1 reference to vouch for you!

As CHAT’s YOUTUBE intern, SOME of your responsibilities include, but aren’t limited to:
• Produce videos for CHAT’s YOUTUBE channel
• Work with the creative team to create polished and engaging videos
• Develop strategies to promote CHAT’s YOUTUBE channel and increase subscribers
• Develop strategy to promote CHAT events through video in order to increase attendance
• Monitor and manage distribution process on YOUTUBE, understand all aspects of YOUTUBE platform in order to optimize content
• Document CHAT events through video and photo

COMMITMENT: This is an UNPAID internship with the perks of working in a relaxed and creative environment where your ideas and opinions count.

Requirement of a minimum of 4 hours a week. Candidate will also be required to be flexible in order to attend and document CHAT events.

STRUCTURE: You will report directly to and be under the supervision of CHAT’s AWESOME Staff, particularly Executive Director and Program Manager.

HOW TO APPLY: Please send your resume to with the subject line “CHAT’s YOUTUBE & Media internship”. Deadline to submit resume is September 19th.


My Journey with CHAT, an Exit Essay by Tracy Yang


Tracy Yang – Youth Leadership Group Exit Essay

I grew up experiencing different forms of art but not knowing the depth of it. I came to realize that art isn’t just a phase or a hobby; there is much more to it. I notice that no matter where I go, I am surrounded by art, and that I myself am a form of art. From the textures of the walls to the clothes we wear, we are living in a world created by and for artists.

The Center of Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT) brought out the best artist within me. CHAT values creativity, community, integrity, and progress. Their mission is to provide quality arts education, activities and opportunities for Hmong American youth and artists. CHAT envisions a community where Hmong American artists are inspired to share their perspectives, valued for their creative contributions, and empowered to challenge life’s boundaries. CHAT’s vision is to nurture, explore and illuminate the Hmong American experience through artistic expressions. CHAT supported and helped nurture me into who I’ve always wanted to be.

CHAT shows me that there is more to art than the face value and aesthetics. CHAT brought me out of my shell, especially through providing performance and community organizing opportunities. The CHAT staff and team is always welcoming with open arms, and shows positive support to those who are open to learning. Beyond expectations, the members and staff of CHAT have become my second family, with CHAT’s Studio 220 being my second home. Not only do they help improve me as an artist, they also help me develop and expand my leadership skills; knowledge that I will carry on in the real world. CHAT provides great connections with people and community, and with opportunities and resources such as excellent volunteer and service learning experiences. CHAT has definitely changed my view on art, community and most importantly, myself.

Prior to CHAT, I dealt with a lot of insecurity issues. I was a very vulnerable person, and was frequently frightened at the thought that I would be judged. I knew I had talent but I just didn’t know how to break out of my shell. I experienced bullying from a young age, and for years was constantly made fun of. I came to a belief that I was worthless, ugly, and overall, a nobody. Although I tried to keep my head held high, I was really torn apart inside. I didn’t want to just be a nobody; this made the decision of breaking out of my shell even more difficult. My mentality during this period was to hide from it all, so I wouldn’t be bullied. This led me to shut myself out from the world, and eventually lose hope of any goals and dreams I once had. But I came to CHAT, and the CHAT environment and culture helped change that. CHAT influenced me to want to better myself, and my future.

As a young Hmong American girl, I always dreamed of a career in the fashion industry. I couldn’t and wouldn’t imagine doing anything else! I wanted to be a model, an editor, and a stylist, but little by little, my dreams began to vanish. Harsh words from my immediate surroundings were affecting my dream. I began to think, who would want to dress a chubby little Asian girl in their finest textiles?? I also started thinking that maybe dreams were just meant to be fiction. By involving myself with CHAT, I was proven wrong. CHAT showed me that there are people like me who dream of becoming something bigger, something different, and can become more successful than you could imagine.

Being involved in CHAT’s Youth Leadership Group (YLG) made me believe in myself, and has made me more confident. The good people at CHAT guided me when I was lost and confused, and continue being supportive; giving much helpful and valuable advice. CHAT helped me pick myself back up, and gave me even more hope for my future. I really do believe that I wouldn’t understand who I am today without them and the positivity they provided me.

I am proud to have had a great amount of volunteer and service learning experiences because of CHAT. As a YLG member, we have partnered with the Frogtown Neighborhood Association (District 7 Planning Council) to organize great community events such as the Kite Festival and the Lot Squats. I have also had the opportunity to volunteer at CHAT’s Annual Fresh Traditions Fashion Show to fundraise for programming; raising over $6,000 and CHAT’s Annual Hmong Arts & Music Festival, drawing in thousands and thousands of attendees. I am fortunate for the opportunity to give back to the community, and be a part of these many amazing events. I learn how to work as a team, while improving my leadership and organizational skills tremendously.

These volunteer experiences also take me out of my comfort zone. Through the arts, I learn the value of community and how important it is to bring community together. I learned to be more social, more conscience, and the importance of how to be innovative, to think outside the box. I also learned the importance being unique and open minded with a willingness to try new things. Through these volunteer experiences, I also connected with many new faces to gain and appreciate different points of views. CHAT has taught me that the good deeds we do today, will one day do us good in the future.

I believe that being an artist is the best way to become more content and confident with oneself and others. It’s amazing to think that without CHAT, I could have lost my motivation to achieve my dreams and goals. I might have still been someone who was afraid of people and their judgements, and I might have never been close to being the person I always dreamed of being. This negativity was prevented because of the arts, CHAT staff and the YLG. In addition, I also learned how important community is, and how to effectively use the opportunities that are given to me to impact my community.
I’ve always known what I wanted in life, and I now know that as long as I stay true to myself, no one’s judgement should deter me from my dreams. I know who I am. I am an intelligent, hardworking, passionate, talented, free-spirited, and beautiful person. I now understand that we must take all of our negative experiences and channel them into something positive and brighter in order for a successful future. Lastly, thank you to the good people, youth and artists of the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent; with your support I was able to break out of my shell.

I am now attending the University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin working towards becoming a Creative Artistic Director. I hope to move to a bustling city such as NYC and work in the fashion industry. I will never forget my experiences with CHAT, and I look forward to visiting the Twin Cities and of course … stopping by to visit my family at the Center for Hmong Arts & Talent.


In the Spotlight with Elisabeth and Kao Lee Thao

On Saturday, April 12 CHAT had the privilege of hosting a wonderful installation facilitated by two unique and amazing Hmong artists. With assistance from Springboard for the Arts and Irrigate, in partnership with the Sunrise Market building, and as one of the many art activities happening along the anticipated Green Line, this project was one of the last installations to be shared.
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In the Spotlight with Tou Yia Xiong

Tou Yia Xiong is an illustrator and designer who recently designed a toy which was featured on ABCs daytime talk show The View during their Best of 2014 New York Toy Fair segment. Tou Yia’s toy design, called Tree Top Adventures, is an elevated four quadrant wooden activity center that includes 6 bead tracks and 6 gliding tracks.
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In the Spotlight with Sonic Rain

Sonic Rain, a long-time local Twin-Cities Hmong music artist has been working on her first single called “The Lost Dance”. It debuted this past February. Since then, people from the community are probably wondering what had sparked her to write her first single. I got the chance to sit down and talk about her inspirations and musical career.

How did you know the music life was for you?
I grew up in a musical family. My Dad was my biggest influence. When I was younger, He would play the guitar. He loved listening and playing Thai & Lao rock. I would say my dad was the reason for my love of music.

How long have you been involved with the Hmong Arts community?
I have been involved ever since I was 13. And I am currently 25 years old. So around 11-12 years now.
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