Board & Staff

AAWAA Staff & Volunteers during Refresh Fundraiser at The Sequoias, 2014. (Left to right: Laura Paule, Cynthia Tom, Rachel Endoso, Melanie Elvena, Mido Lee, Shari Arai DeBoer, & Michelle Lee).

AAWAA Staff & Volunteers during Refresh Fundraiser at The Sequoias, 2014. (Left to right: Laura Paule, Cynthia Tom, Rachel Endoso, Melanie Elvena, Mido Lee, Shari Arai DeBoer, & Michelle Lee). Photo courtesy of Cris Matos.

BOARD MEMBERS

Caroline Cabading

A 4th-generation San Franciscan, CAROLINE CABADING received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and vocational Certification in Multimedia Programming. She currently works as an Energy & Sustainability Program Specialist for the General Services Administration, managing federal government “Green” projects in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona. Caroline is also a professional musician and traditional dancer who leads her own jazz ensemble, “The Autonmous Region,” and her Southern Philippines music and dance ensemble, “Kapwa”.  She studied and toured professionally for over 15 years with the late Kulintang Master Artist Danongan Kalanduyan and has also studied Philippine Pangalay dance with Ligaya Amilbangsa and Indonesian Jaipongan dance with Pak Achmad Farmis.  In service to her Asian American community Caroline currently volunteers her position as Executive Director of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation and the International Hotel Manilatown Center, and keeps up with her  multimedia training chops by designing pro bono websites and print graphic materials for organizations close to her heart.

 

Shari DeBoer, Board Secretary/Treasurer | shari@aawaa.net

SHARI DEBOER is a printmaker, painter, book artist and private art instructor. Before turning her focus to community arts and her own artwork, Shari worked as an architect in San Francisco and continues to do creative projects with her husband, architect Darrel DeBoer.

 

Michelle Lee

MICHELLE A. LEE is an interdisciplinary artist and curator from San Francisco, California. A 3rd generation San Franciscan, Lee is a graduate of the Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has worked in arts organizations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Eating Cultures, her most recent curatorial project, featured 36 emerging and established artists and over 50 artworks inspired by Asian Pacific American food and foodways.

 

Nivedita Ojha

NIVEDITA OJHA works in tech but is also a practicing artist in painting. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and currently works as a Product Management Executive for Citrix. With her savvy start-up experience, Nivedita wants to increase the reach, visibility, and support of more Asian American women artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. She aims to especially bring awareness within the South Bay and among the Silicon Valley community.

 

Vinay Patel

VINAY PATEL has spent over a decade as an arts administrator and has been a critical factor in the growth of Asian Improv aRts’ as an arts advocate (as a co-founder and a coordinator of the California Asian American and Pacific Islander Arts Network), producer (from local to international concerts, festivals, tours, recordings) and organizational development consultant as well. Patel has been the Executive Director of Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center since 2009.

 

Pallavi Sharma

PALLAVI SHARMA was born in India and immigrated to the US in 1997. She received her BFA and MFA from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, India and her Ph.D. in Art History from India’s National Museum Institute of History of Art and Conservation.  She is a multidisciplinary artist and her research interest concerns Asian American women’s cultural production, feminist pedagogy and activism. She has exhibited her work nationally at various venues including the Queens Museum of Art, Aicon Gallery, NY, Bishop Museum, HI. She is the director and founder of Inner Eye Art, a nonprofit art organization in San Francisco.

 

Cynthia Tom, Board President | cynthia@aawaa.net

CYNTHIA TOM is a visual artist, community activist, arts organizer, and current Board President. Cynthia is also founder and director of A PLACE OF HER OWN, an arts healing residency providing trauma-informed transformation for women. Cultural surrealism, intuitive, and powerful are often used to describe her paintings and mixed media installations. She lectures on women’s issues, feminism, Asian American women in the arts, and her work. Cynthia has won numerous awards for her art and leadership.

ADVISORY BOARD

Isabelle Thuy Pelaud

Lenore  Chinn

Lydia Nakashima-Degarrod

Margaret Rhee

Natalie Gore

Nancy Hom

Sue Tom

Susan Almazol

STAFF

Susie KagamiExecutive Director | susie@aawaa.net

SUSIE KAGAMI comes to AAWAA with a fresh perspective, a mind for strategic and organizational planning, and great enthusiasm for AAWAA. Her deep appreciation for her Japanese, Hawaiian and Chinese heritage keeps her connected to her ancestral roots and traditional arts, and she looks forward to building community and outreaching to her network of supporters to help AAWAA grow. Her 25-year career as an entrepreneur, corporate manager and small business owner in management, music/event production, and retail sectors, she has honed her skills in discovering possibilities, organizing priorities, budgeting, fundraising, branding and marketing, bringing creative projects to life. Her recent work with the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, and co-chairing the non-profit parent organization of the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program at Rosa Parks Elementary School, Susie found a passion for helping small non-profit organizations grow community, recognition and funding.

Melanie Elvena, Programs Manager | melanie@aawaa.net

MELANIE ELVENA is an arts organizer, activist, and independent curator living and working in the SF Bay Area. A self-prescribed arts dabbler, she received her B.A. in Art History from UC Irvine with an emphasis in Modern and Contemporary Art She currently serves as Programs Manager at Asian American Women Artists Association and Artistic Director at Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. Melanie was also the APAture Coordinator for Kearny Street Workshop in 2013 and co-curator for its Visual Arts and Performing Arts showcases from 2013-2014.

Michelle Lee, Exhibitions Manager | michelle.lee@aawaa.net

MICHELLE A. LEE is an interdisciplinary artist and curator from San Francisco, California. A 3rd generation San Franciscan, Lee is a graduate of the Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has worked in arts organizations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Eating Cultures, her most recent curatorial project, featured 36 emerging and established artists and over 50 artworks inspired by Asian Pacific American food and foodways.

 

INTERNS & VOLUNTEERS

Katie Quan, Archive Intern

Jade Nouchi, Volunteer

Jamie Fox, Volunteer

Kimi Taira, Volunteer