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NEA Big Read Study Group no. 5

June 1, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm CDT

Immigration, Identity and the Arts

You are invited to join American Composers Forum (ACF) and East Side Freedom Library (ESFL) on Thursday, June 1 at 6:30 pm CT for the culminating event of our “Immigration, Identity, and the Arts” series. Taking place at the Community Hall in the newly-renovated Springboard for the Arts complex in Saint Paul, the event is part of the NEA Big Read series focused on Thi Bui’s graphic memoir The Best We Could Do about her family’s journey as Vietnamese refugees later settling in the US.

Bui is also the illustrator of A Different Pond, a children’s book written by Bao Phi about growing up in Minnesota as a Vietnamese American refugee family. Bao Phi and Thi Bui will be our featured guests for this event (Bui participating virtually). They will be joined by Gao Hong — Chinese pipa player, composer, and ACF board member — and Kevin Phoojywg Xiong — Hmong composer and 2021 recipient of ACF’s Minnesota Music Creator Awards — who will share their own musical responses.

Both The Best We Could Do and A Different Pond will be available onsite. Please send advance requests to Xavier Muzik and xmuzik@composersforum.org.

Please join us for this unique opportunity to engage in stories of immigration through music and conversation with your own Minnesota community.

Register here.

For more information about this series, click here.

American Composers Forum believes that music is a medium that can help us connect as humans, tell stories, and share experiences. East Side Freedom Library has long hosted study groups, partnerships, and community events that lift up the stories of its neighborhood in the name of justice. Together, we will host several cultural events and conversations examining the theme of “Immigration, Identity, and the Arts,” to amplify the voices, stories, and music of immigrant artists and community members wrestling with this theme. Included in our events will be discussion of, and inspiration from, Thi Bui’s graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do. Supported by the NEA’s Big Read project, this book aligns greatly with our theme, and resonates with so many members of our community. We are planning parallel in-person and virtual options to accommodate health and accessibility considerations. All events are free and open to the public.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

We are grateful for the support of Saint Paul’s STAR program for this event.


June 1, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm CDT
Event Category:


Springboard for the Arts
262 University Ave West
Saint Paul, MN 55103 United States
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