Founded in 1997, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center began as a mission-critical initiative to further the inclusion of Asian Pacific Americans across the Smithsonian’s collections, research, exhibitions, and programs. Since then the Center has produced temporary and traveling exhibitions, educational resources for K-12 teachers and students, global digital initiatives, and large-scale public programs such as its Culture Labs, a new programmatic model of how museums can bring artists and cultural practitioners together with community members and visitors. The Center is currently a “Museum without Walls,” referring both to its focus of moving beyond physical museum walls to provide programs and resources online and in communities outside of D.C., as well as to its desire to break down boundaries and impediments that traditionally keep communities of color from visiting museums.
Naomi Hirahara is the award-winning author of history books, mysteries, and YA fiction. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo newspaper and curator of historical exhibitions, she received her B.A. in international relations from Stanford University. Her nonfiction book Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor won the Bruckman Award for Excellence from the Los Angeles Public Library. Her MG book, 1001 Cranes, was awarded honorable mention in youth literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association. Her Edgar Award-winning Mas Arai mystery series has been translated into Japanese, French and Korean.
Illi Ferandez is a Chicago based Illustrator. She attended the Chicago Academy of Art where she was formally trained in anatomy and classical figure drawing. Her work revolves around the use of bright colors to highlight the vibrant culture of her homeland, the Philippines. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Women's Wear Daily, and High Snobiety.