MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 1, 2012) — Award-winning writer Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay has joined the board of directors for Intermedia Arts and the Asian Pacific Endowment Fund of the St. Paul Foundation.
“I’m really honored,” Vongsay said. “Both organizations do so much for the cultural vibrancy of Minnesota. I’m excited to help them continue their missions in community building.”
A Lao American resident of St. Paul, Vongsay was declared a 2011 Changemaker by Intermedia Arts for her community service. She organizes many projects at Intermedia Arts. In 2010, she was a pivotal figure in bringing the Legacies of War: Refugee Nation Twin Cities multimedia exhibit. Nearly 1,000 people came, including international visitors from Southeast Asia and Europe. Vongsay was particularly successful in bringing many first-time visitors to Intermedia Arts.
Intermedia Arts has been providing artists and audiences with the tools, support, respect and freedom to make positive social change through art, dialogue and civic engagement since 1973. “Intermedia Arts has really been there for us when we needed them,” Vongsay noted.
The Asian Pacific Endowment, a permanent philanthropic endowment built by and for Asian Pacific Islanders. The Asian Pacific Endowment is a partner in The Saint Paul Foundation’s SpectrumTrust. Vongsay said, “This was part of an initiative to enhance philanthropic among communities of color in Minnesota. They were one of the key funders of the first National Lao American Writers Summit.”
The Lao American Professionals of Elgin, Illinois honored her for her work as a writer in 2010, and she was the inaugural recipient of the Alfred E. Carey Prize In Spoken Word. Her writing appears in Altra Magazine, the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, and Bakka Literary Journal, among many others. She applied her expertise to serve as co-editor of the Hmong Women Write Now! Anthology. She is also on the editorial board for Paj Ntaub Voice Literary Journal, the longest running Hmong literary journal in the world.
Vongsay’s No Regrets, a poetry chapbook from Baby Rabbit Publishing was released in 2007. Her award-winning poem, “When Everything Was Everything,” is taught in the Saint Paul Public Schools’ curriculum. She has performed and taught creative writing workshops nationally and internationally. As part of the Smithsonian Institution’s New Harmonies Program, she recently completed a residency at Warroad High School.
Significant projects of hers include work with the Anchorage Urban League of Young Professionals to urge civic engagement. She was a liaison between local government and the Southeast Asian community regarding public policy. She is currently collecting oral histories within the Lao American community for the Minnesota Historical Society.
Vongsay is currently a Jerome Foundation/Mu Performing Arts New Eyes Theater Fellow. As part of the program, her play, Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals has entered the second phase of development. If successful, it will become Mu Performing Art’s main production for its next season.
You can visit her online at www.refugenius.com.