Amazing Asians in the Arts

Amazing Asians in the Arts: Kimberly Immanuel

December 04, 2021

Kimberly Immanuel is a writer, choreographer, and performer based in New York City! Inspired by her older sister, she got her start in the world of dance as a child. After her first musical at the age of 12, she knew she’d found her future career path. After completing her education at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, she’s been seen in productions such as The National Tour of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the Off-Broadway productions of The Fantasticks and Pacific Overtures, and playing Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street at The Ordway and Drury Lane Theatre, as well as her own show, Kim Loo Gets a Redo! Immanuel is also the current dance and fight captain, swing, and understudy for Eurydice & Fates 1 and 2 on The National Tour of Hadestown! She encourages young artists to “work hard, be [themselves], and take everything that comes [their] way as a learning opportunity,” as well as “be kind to [themselves] and everyone around [them].” Read on to learn more about Kimberly Immanuel and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Mayu Isom

November 27, 2021

Mayu Isom is a member of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet based in Texas! She first fell in love with music in elementary school on the flute -- after hearing her school’s top symphony perform Tchaikovksy’s 4th Symphony in F minor, she discovered an interest in the oboe that lead to her pursuing a career with it professionally (where she’s had the opportunity to perform the very solo that inspired her several times)! After attending Indiana University for her Bachelor’s, Rice University for her Master’s, and Boston University for her Performer’s Diploma, Isom won her place in the company of the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet! Offstage, she is “obsessed with all things culinary” -- cooking and baking provide her with opportunities to try new things and enjoy them with those she loves, and most recently, with an escape from the monotony of quarantine. Isom advises young artists to “have the confidence and willingness to take risks and make mistakes,” and to take chances on finding new opportunities, despite the fear of rejection, because each of those nos makes room for the door to open for a yes. Read on to learn more about Mayu Isom and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Mariko

November 20, 2021

Mariko is a cellist based in fabulous Las Vegas! As a child, Mariko was inspired by a children’s book that featured a cello-playing bear, and asked her parents for lessons. At the age of 17, she made the decision to turn her passion into her career, pursued a degree from the Tokyo University of Arts, and made the shift to playing professionally. After performing as the first Japanese cellist in Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson Immortal Tour (with some members of MJ’s original band!), she made the decision to stay in the United States, and has since played for Madonna’s Madame X On Tour, a Prince tribute at the T-Mobile Arena, Cirque’s Zumanity, and the rock band STARSET, as well as created and released her own album entitled “Artemis”! Offstage, she’s found a passion for ballet barre conditioning, and supports Room to Read, “a nonprofit for children’s literacy and girls’ education across Asia and Africa.” Her advice for young artists? “Listen to your heart, follow your passion, and the results will follow you.” Read on to learn more about Mariko and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Belinda Allyn

November 13, 2021

Belinda Allyn is a performer based in the suburbs of New Jersey. It took one theatre camp in high school for her to catch the acting bug, and went on to land her first acting gig in the resident company at Forestburgh Playhouse. Upon her graduation from Oklahoma City University, Allyn booked a job with the Disney Cruise Line, and has expanded her resume since! Her favorite roles include Belle in Beauty and the Beast at Paper Mill Playhouse, Imelda Marcos (understudy) in Here Lies Love at Seattle Rep, Maria in West Side Story at Paper Mill Playhouse, and of course, Allegiance and Once Upon a One More Time on Broadway! Allyn advises young artists to “ground [themselves] in genuine relationships and hobbies/jobs/activities that [they] enjoy that aren’t related to pursuing a career in the arts” (Allyn herself was a band kid before theatre!), and to understand that when things don’t work out, it’s because something else is on the horizon. Read on to learn more about Belinda Allyn and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Xiaoxiao Cao

November 06, 2021

Xiaoxiao Cao is a dancer and businesswoman based in New York City. She started her ballet training at the age of three, and left to attend a school in Guangzhou to hone her skills as a young artist. Now, she’s danced with companies such as Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and Boston Ballet in world-class theatres like the Lincoln Center in NYC, Kennedy Center in D.C., and National Performing Arts in Beijing, China -- but you might recognize her from the ballet company of Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera! On top of all this, Cao runs her own dancewear business, where her designs have graced the cover of Dance Magazine and have been sold in 12 countries across the globe. Her advice to rebound from failure? “Think positive and never give up. Keep working on it until [you] make it.” Read on to learn more about Xiaoxiao Cao and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Riza Takahashi

October 30, 2021

Riza Takahashi is a performer based in New York City! Her passion for musical theatre emerged at the age of 4 when her mother enrolled her in a studio in Japan. Her resume now includes some of the most iconic shows in history from her time in regional theatre, including Mamma Mia!, How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying, Spelling Bee, The King and I, Mary Poppins, Spamalot, and more! In addition to this, Takahashi made her Broadway debut as an original cast member for Mean Girls on Broadway! Offstage, she fly fishes (a skill she picked up in quarantine!), teaches private lessons and workshops on a platform called “Broadway to Japan,” and founded Celebrate Asian Joy, “an organization committed to support and celebrate AAPI theater artists, filmmakers, and musicians to tell their stories through arts” that just released a new music video, “I Choose Joy!” Her advice to young artists? “Don’t be afraid to be who you are! You are already enough.”Read on to learn more about Riza Takahashi and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Announcing the 2021-22 Cre8sian Project Scholarship Winners!

October 25, 2021

The Cre8sian Project is thrilled to announce
the winners of our 2021-22 scholarships!
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Sarah Di

October 23, 2021

Sarah Di is a multidisciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh, PA. Initially, Di set out to become a dermatologist, but she discovered a love for filmmaking during her freshman year at Carnegie Mellon. Di has gone on to create an “sprawling interactive fiction game” and play the Chinese zither (guzheng) at Carnegie Hall, and is currently working on a documentary-inspired film centered around her relationship with Chinese-American food from the early 2000s to the present. She also recently won the Asian American Film Lab's 72 hour Film Shootout award for Outstanding Female Content Creator for her submission filmed entirely in her bedroom using nothing but her Panasonic DMC-ZS100 and an Amazon basics tripod! In the future, Di aims to produce her very own feature-length film! Aside from telling meaningful stories and practicing self care, she advises young artists to put together a portfolio, and emphasizes the importance of “[having] physical evidence of [their] work, no matter how small.” Read on to learn more about Sarah Di and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Casey Jo Ahn Robards

October 16, 2021

Casey Jo Ahn Robards is a professional collaborative pianist, conductor, vocal coach, and professor based in Champaign, Illinois. Her musical journey began at the age of 4 on a toy piano, and led to her first paid pianist job at church. From there, she began accompanying everything from solo competitions, choirs, school musicals, and local events, eventually going on to play for Broadway tours like Wicked and Beautiful! On top of all this, she holds 3 music degrees from the University of Illinois, where she now teaches! Her advice to young artists is simple: “work hard.” There are learning experiences all around, and it’s up to us to “seek new experiences and challenges that cause [us] to meet new people and develop more skills.” Read on to learn more about Casey Jo Ahn Robards and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Jenna Mee Dosch

October 09, 2021

Jenna Mee Dosch is a collaborative pianist based in New York. At just 3 years old, she began piano lessons that would later bring her to receive a BA in Piano Performance from Luther College. From there, she completed the Collaborative Piano Masters program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she embraced her love for musical theatre. Her favorite credits include Rock of Ages at McLeod Summer Playhouse, Next to Normal at CU Boulder, and The Last Five Years at ACT of CT -- all leading up to her playing with the North American tour of Broadway’s Frozen! When not performing, Dosch is an active member of MUSE (Musicians United for Social Equity) and Maestra (“a nonprofit that provides support, visibility, and community to the women and non-binary people in the musical theatre industry”). A huge self-care advocate, Dosch’s routine includes Korean skincare and meditation to reset her creative mindset. She advises young artists to “say yes, but also learn to say no,” and to ensure they have enough energy to take on a project before agreeing to prevent burnout. Read on to learn more about Jenna Mee Dosch and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Lia Chang

October 02, 2021

Lia Chang is a multidisciplinary artist (with an impressive resume) based in New York City! At the age of 17, she was singled out as a model for Sidney Bitterman Coats, and later made her stage debut in South Pacific, starring Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet! Chang went on to become a professional filmmaker, photographer, multi-platform journalist, social media director, and actress, and her award-winning work can be seen everywhere, from YouTube to the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room! Largely inspired to repair the “lack of positive coverage artists of color in the mainstream media” receive, the mission of Chang’s film company (Bev’s Girl Films) is to “foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera.” As an artist that believes in telling stories that truly matter, she advises young artists to “have a seat at the table,” “take up space,” “control [their] own [narratives],” and “[refuse to] take no for an answer.” In the future, she looks forward to releasing a documentary centered around the life of her mother, Beverly Umehara, “a secretary and mother of four who became a labor activist and president of the national executive board of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance,” and to play more lead roles in film and television herself! Read on to learn more about Lia Chang and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Announcing the 2021-22 Cre8sian Project Scholarships!

September 27, 2021

The Cre8sian Project was founded as a way to give back to the community while empowering Asian women around the world by developing female superhero characters that envelop qualities of a strong, superhero-like woman: Determination, Concentration, Motivation, and Education. This brand is about recognizing diversity in the arts, emphasizing that representation matters, and empowering women in the arts and beyond!

The Cre8sian Project Scholarships, through Positively Arts (a 501c3 non profit) and in partnership with “In Her Purpose,” are open to female and female identifying high school and middle school students attending public, private, or home school with an interest in the arts, have some asian heritage, and live in Clark County. Students who are involved in any aspect of the arts, not just performance, are encouraged to apply. This can include writers, photographers, filmmakers, technical stage crew (carpentry, props, lighting, automation, audio, set design, stage managers), artists, graphic designers, directors, acrobats, singers, dancers, musicians, composers, arrangers, etc.

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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Hedy Wong

September 25, 2021

Hedy Wong is an actress, producer, writer, and rapper based in Los Angeles. This multidisciplinary artist went from booking music video gigs and commercials in California to co-writing, producing, and starring in the award-winning feature film, Take Out Girl, as well as producing her first single, “Who Do You Trust?” on Spotify. Wong got to where she is now by saying yes to trying and gaining new experiences to aid her later on. She loves that the arts allow her to “[explore] the human condition” and create familiarity with her audiences through storytelling. Her advice to young artists is to “learn everything about [their] craft” and to incorporate business management into their artistry as well. Read on to learn more about Hedy Wong and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Kelli Youngman

September 18, 2021

Kelli Youngman is a performer and life coach based in New York City. After getting her start in dance from a mommy-and-me class as a child, she grew up to attend Fordham University and The Ailey School. The many paths in front of her made her consider alternatives -- but within 6 months of deciding to commit to her dream of being on Broadway, Youngman booked her first Broadway show! Her credits include ANASTASIA and THE KING AND I (including the First National Tour) on Broadway, NEWSIES at Arena Stage, and THE FLAMINGO KID, as well as becoming a life coach for her company, Kelli Youngman Wellness! Her advice to young artists? “Trust yourself and what you have to offer to the world. You are valuable and needed just as you are.” Read on to learn more about Kelli and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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Amazing Asians in the Arts: Alice Tuan

September 11, 2021

Alice Tuan is a playwright inspired by “human wisdom” based in Valencia, CA. She vividly remembers “the first moment [she] became a playwright at the age of 17 in the kitchen with her grandfather, but worked outside the realm of writing as an ESL teacher and Universal Studios tour guide before professionally committing to her craft with the Mentor Playwrights Project. Her works include Last of the Suns, produced by Ma-Yi Theater in NYC,  Ajax (por nobody) at SummerWorks in Toronto, Ikebana at East West Players in LA, and BATCH: A Bachelor/ette Party Spectacle in collaboration with New Paradise Laboratories. Tuan set a goal to write 40 plays, and is currently 8 original works in! She’s also “a playwright associate with East West Players, the longest running non-white theater” in America, which places special emphasis on Asian American stories and voices. Tuan’s advice for young artists is to discover and “follow [their] values” to create a path uniquely for them and their success. Read on to learn more about Alice Tuan and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 
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