ST. PAUL (Aug. 1, 2012) — Governor Mark Dayton is recognizing the outstanding international, national, and local contributions of Lao Minnesotan artists and how these actions have encouraged future generations of emerging artists to recognize the role the arts have in our lives to positively transform our communities.
Gov. Dayton presented a certificate of recognition to Lao Minnesotan Artists which reads: “This certificate is presented to the Lao Minnesotan artists in recognition of their international, national, and local contributions to communities. As the third largest Lao populated state, Minnesota recognizes the significance of the dedication and performance of these artists. Therefore, with the appreciation and respect of the people of Minnesota,this certificate is presented to Lao Minnesotan Artists. Celebrated: August, 2012.”
With over 50 Lao Minnesotan artists in various stages of their career, the certificate is a powerful affirmation of the efforts and the journey to emerge and intertwine with Minnesota and the world. The recognition will continue to inspire and energize others to add their voices to the great American tapestry, and to treasure the great stories and visions within themselves and all living beings, say the recipients.
The effort emerged from a grassroots effort to demystify the process of civic engagement and to examine the role artists have in advocating, shaping, and examining the strengths and opportunities for our community. Its one way celebrate Lao Minnesotan Artists Heritage Month!
Among the artists who have been recognized is Mrs. Bounxou Daoheuang Chanthraphone, of Brooklyn Park, and the first NEA Heritage Fellow from Laos, celebrated for her preservation and advancement of Lao traditional weaving, and who holds an Enduring Vision Fellowship from the Bush Foundation. She is the a recipient of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotan’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the Arts.
Other Lao American artist include Mrs. Mali Kouanchao, a Bush Fellow whose work has appeared across the country to address social justice issues, including unexploded ordnance in Laos.
Ms. Saymoukda Vongsay was the inaugural recipient of the Alfred E. Carey Prize in Spoken Word and has performed in Italy, Japan and across the United States.
Mr. Bryan Thao Worra is the very first Lao American poet to hold an NEA Fellowship in Literature, writing over five books of poetry in Minnesota, and recently his poetry was featured in London during the Festival of the World while the 2012 Olympics take place.
Thao Worra is also a recipient of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotan’s Leadership Award in the Arts.