Arts & Social Change

Grantmakers in the Arts asked me to write about my experience at the Arts & Social Change Symposium held in Seattle, from October 12–13, 2012. Here's an excerpt:
Seattle Center 2012. I walk around the grounds in autumn. The Fun Forest closed in 2011. Gone are the amusement rides and games. Are children eager to come here as I once was? 
“You come from people, not place.” 
Enter the promise of the Seattle Center’s Festál. As the only child of divorced immigrant parents, for me the Seattle Center in the 1970s was a cotton candy version of America with amusement rides and flashing lights. Now, children brought to the Seattle Center can experience amateur and professional artists in continually renewing ethnic festivals. 
The flashing lights shift to a cultural currency where the exchange is between people rather than places. Thinking about arts and social change, my initial doubt becomes the realization that transformation requires the public articulation of private acts. The Fun Forest recedes into memory as the Seattle Center comes alive with contemporary and traditional artists grappling with ways to perform multiple cultures as Americans.
Read the complete article for free at GIA Reader, Vol 24, No 1 (Winter 2013).
Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation, music for a changing world. He teaches in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.

Byron Au Yong & Christopher Yohmei Blasdel: BreathPlay
BreathPlay

Byron Au Yong: Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas
Kidnapping Water:
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Byron Au Yong: Yiju
YIJU 移居