NEA Art Works Blog Highlights CAAM

The crowd at CAAMFest 2015 Opening Night, Benson Lee's Seoul Searching, in March 2015. Photo by Jason Jao.
"The arts matter because they are the singularly most important way we express our humanity." - Stephen Gong

We are honored and humbled that the National Endowment for the Arts is spotlighting CAAM on its website. NEA Art Works blog writer Paulette Beete interviewed CAAM’s Executive Director, Stephen Gong. The NEA is an independent federal government agency dedicated to supporting the arts, creativity and innovation “for the benefit of individuals and communities.”

On diversity in the U.S.

I think the biggest myth that we want to work against is that there’s a necessity for a melting pot where one leaves behind those unique attributes of your own ethnicities and cultures. Instead, there’s just this wonderful profusion of people being able to express who they are. All of us sharing and appreciating that in one another, that’s really the strength of America.

On the importance of the NEA in supporting cultural and artistic expression

I think one of the things that is so damaging in our society is the way that we build barriers against one another and feel that other people’s experiences now threaten ours. And the arts are a unique way to move people beyond their barriers. Public policy cannot do that effectively without there being a kind of cultural pathway first, and the arts have always provided that deeper pathway. The NEA support means that all of us, the American people, believe that’s important. So having a robust NEA is vital to our progress as a culture.

Read the full interview here!

CAAM is extremely grateful to the NEA for supporting CAAMFest and Memories to Light: Asian American Home Movies.

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