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SDCOE Launches Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Desi American Art Showcase 

SDCOE Launches Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Desi American Art Showcase 

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is launching an Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Desi American (APIMEDA) art showcase in an effort to highlight local youth and young adult visual artists.

“We are so excited to announce this showcase now, not just because it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, but because we hope it provides the spark for our young artists and gives them the time to really get creative in their work,” said Rebecca Penh, an executive leadership coach at SDCOE overseeing the effort. “Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Desi Americans have made such a contribution to our region’s culture, economy, and arts, and this showcase is an opportunity for our students to express their connectedness to that through art and celebrate the rich diversity of the communities.”

SDCOE is calling for submissions from 6th through 12th grade students, as well as current undergraduate students. The showcase’s theme, Eating San Diego: Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Desi American Edition, seeks to highlight how youth and young adults envision and see how food plays a crucial role in shaping cultural identity, fostering a sense of community and belonging, and preserving heritage. 

“For many APIMEDA people, food becomes the tool to have a conversation between generations and the vehicle to embody culture space and place they can call home,” said AAPI Advisory Committee Member Joseph Allen Ruanto-Ramirez, assistant professor of Asian American Studies at Southwestern College and commissioner for Asian and Pacific Islander relations for the County of San Diego.

Students are asked to submit photographs or scans of 2D works of visual art that highlight APIMEDA food culture in San Diego County. Students will also be asked to include an artist statement of less than 500 words on how their artwork represents APIMEDA food and traditions, and how it shapes their cultural identity and sense of belonging. This project seeks to receive submissions to be highlighted for APIMEDA Heritage Month in May 2024 at a local exhibit. Submissions will be accepted from Aug. 1 to Dec. 1. 

SDCOE is partnering with local education and community groups on the project. Committed partners include: the Commission for Asian and Pacific Islander Relations for the County of San Diego, Southwestern College Asian American Studies Program, and the Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition. Additional partners will be announced later in the year.

“This is a yearlong project because we are reaching out to our community and education partners and want to make sure they have time to participate and support this wonderful opportunity," added Penh. “In addition, we want to recognize that there are many significant celebrations and observances throughout the year that we do not want to limit it to just AAPI Heritage Month.”

Additional details will be announced soon. For more information, contact Rebecca Penh.

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