© 2021
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Creative compassion: Bay Area artists raise money for Japan

Host: Lauren Meltzer

Producer: Yumi Wilson 

From delicately crafted tea bowls to contemporary jazz to the spoken word, Bay Area artists are marking this May’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by dedicating contributions from some of their work and performances to the victims of the recent earthquake in eastern Japan.

Some artists have gotten involved because of a personal connection; others are simply reaching out to help a country in need.

In the process, artists are among the growing number of people and organizations doing their part to help Japan.

What is the unique role that artists play in the Japan relief effort? How much money has been raised by Bay Area artists? And how has the tragedy served as a unique opportunity to bring together old and new ideas on Japan?


  • Dottie Low, ceramics instructor at Sharon Art Studio and chair of "Help Japan 100 Tea bowls" fundraiser. Low spearheaded the event, which raised more than $23,000 for the American Red Cross. A graduate of San Francisco State University, Low has traveled to China, Japan and Taiwan.
  • Ben Shockey, executive director of the Friends of Sharon Art Studio (FOSAS). FOSAS is a non-profit organization that partners with San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to sustain and enhance the Sharon Art Studio in Golden Gate Park. 
  • Jason Jong, a grants administer and active supporter of the Bay Area arts and progressive community and founder of the pan-Asian collective Asian Crisis.
  •  Brenda Wong Aoki, an acclaimed soloist whose work synthesizes Japanese Noh and Kyooogen theater, Commedia Dell’arte, modern dance and everyday experience. Twice a National Endowments Arts fellow, Brenda has won three our Dramalogue Awards for her original work and a Critics’ Circle Award. Her grandfather was a founder of San Francisco Japan town in the 1890's, grandmother was a leader of the first Chinatown garment union and cousin is Richard Aoki, the Black Panther.

City Visions