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Moving to Vancouver BC in fall 2021

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Hey, friends, I am moving to Vancouver, BC, this September!!! I have accepted an offer to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts at Emily Carr University, to expand my research on art and gentrification: how the arts get weaponized for gentrification, and methods to disrupt, dismantle, and replace the cycle.

This research has been the core of my business and consulting in equitable best practices, built from the grassroots in the 6.5 years I’ve been a full-time artist.

Had you asked me a year ago, I had no plans of moving. I had just expanded my business. I was too busy to distill my research into forms to be more widely shared.

When the pandemic hit, everything went virtual, I grew my consulting, and my research became the priority. Through a chain of events, I connected with ECU, and learned about their work to decolonize and indigenize, in the context of a highly gentrified city. I realized that if I were to expand my research beyond the Midwest, this was the place to do it.

Wisconsin has been my home for eleven years. I have built a successful, full-time arts business here. I have my fiance, chosen family, and studio. I am comfortable and rooted.

I’m also ready to expand my roots. I have always lived in the Midwest, in a white dominant culture. Even in BIPOC circles, I am often the one AAPI. I’ve been the mediator, the one POC, the one in a white organization fighting to make room for other BIPOC. I am accustomed to standing out, which makes me conflict tolerant and outspoken. Vancouver is 54% BIPOC, majority Asian. Vancouver has injustices. But for the first time, I will get to choose to stand out when I have the option of blending in.

I will continue taking clients at Jenie Gao Studio. I will have reduced capacity especially while acclimating to school, so book me before August for urgent projects.

This is not goodbye, Wisconsin. My fiance has a full-time job and is finishing his MBA at UW Madison. So I’ll be visiting. :)

My studio lease is up July 31st. I’m looking for artists–especially BIPOC–to take it (more info and photos of my studio). Madison has so few studios. I’ve already spent the time and money building out an incredible one. If my investment can pave the way for other BIPOC to take up space, that’s an equity fight I’m happy to capstone my time in Madison with.

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