Visual arts

APAture 2022: Your Guide to the Return of Kearny Street Workshop’s Asian American Arts Showcase

Artist Heesoo Kwon. Photo: Andrew Sung-Taek Ingersol

Kearny Street Workshop, the world’s oldest multidisciplinary Asian American arts group, continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary with the full-scale return of APature, its flagship event. After a pandemic hiatus in 2020 and a soft relaunch last year, the month-long visual arts, music, film and comedy festival returns for its 20th edition with receptions and showcases all weekends until October 30.

The first APAture was held in 1999, with the goal of showcasing artists from across the Asia-Pacific American diaspora who were still rising in their field. (Hasan Minhaj, Irene Tu and Sheng Wang are among the previous comedy contestants who have gained wider recognition.) There is also a sense of energetic camaraderie shared among audience members.

The theme for APature 2022 is Self-Reliance, with the San Francisco-based nonprofit asking emerging local artists to reflect, “What does it mean for our communities to find self-reliance in our art , in our practices, in our lived experience? How do we ensure our autonomy in spaces that continue to limit, disrupt and minimize our existence? »

Hasan Minhaj (center) performs during APAture in 2008. Photo: Courtney Kranzke

“Kearny Street was the first Asian American organization I was exposed to,” said singer-songwriter and composer Goh Nakamura, who participated in APature’s 2007 edition and went on to scored Bruce Lee’s 2020 narrative documentary “Be Water.” “I met so many people there who I still collaborate with today, including (pianist/keyboardist) Art Hirahara and (drummer) Tim Bulkley. Ali Wong and my high school classmate Gene Yang are also from this scene.

Where is it, and how to get there?

This year’s APature will take place in three different locations. The Opening and Closing Receptions, as well as the Literary Arts Showcase on Friday, October 28, will take place at the Arc Gallery & Studios, which also houses the KSW offices. It is located at 1246 Folsom St. between Eighth and Ninth Streets, about three blocks from the Civic Center BART station and near the 19 and 27 Muni lines.

The film Showcase Screening & Talk, scheduled for Sunday, October 23, is slated for the Roxie Theater in San Francisco, 3117 16th St., between Valencia and Guerrero streets. The Roxie is two blocks from the 16th Street BART station; three blocks from the J-Church line; and served by lines 14, 22, 33 and 49 Muni.

The Saturday, October 15 Multi-Arts Showcase will take place at Kapwa Gardens, 967 Mission St. between Fifth and Sixth Streets. The Powell Street BART station is one block away and the 14, 14x and 27 Muni lines all have stops nearby.

Arc Gallery & Studios requires visitors to be masked indoors. Customers at Kapwa Gardens will have their temperature checked and will be asked to sanitize their hands and fill in information on a contact tracing app.

What events are on the program this year?

APAture 2022: ‘Rise, a showcase for the visual arts’

The opening reception focuses on the visual arts. Co-presented by Arc Gallery & Studios, it will be on display until October 30 and will feature works by Heesoo Kwon, Nibha Akireddy, Juke Jose, Midori, Jane Kang, Kim Requesto, Takahiro Okubo, Ximaps Dong, Marlene Yee, Wednesday from Guzman and Yoezung.

Emphasizing video and 3D modeling in his visual works, Kwon makes his APAture debut as the featured artist of the exhibition. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2019 with an MFA and is currently an artist-curator at the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco.

“During the pandemic, people from all countries contacted me to tell me that they had seen my work online. I was able to meet many people from different cities and countries, which I never imagined said Kwon, who was back in his native South Korea for part of 2021. “But it’s great to be able to interact with people again like at APAture.”

Opening from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 8. Exhibition from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. from Saturday to October 30. Free upon registration. Arc Gallery & Studios, 1246 Folsom St., SF

Festival Co-Founder and Vice President Robyan Takayama (left) and Festival Co-Founder Jean Chen stand in the 2019 APAture Gallery in San Francisco. Photo: Liz Hafalia/The Chronicle 2019

‘Thrive, Music, Performing Arts, Comics, Zines and Illustration’

The multi-arts showcase, also known as APature Thrive, features music, performing arts, comics, zines and artwork. He lined up saxophonist, MC and multi-instrumentalist Rocky G; photographer, videographer and musician Erin Lee; indie-pop duo Mr. Bub; Jackson Wright; guitarist and songwriter Annamacan; and composer, songwriter and producer Mayx for the music showcase.

For the performing arts showcase, poet Alder Duan Hurley; drag activist and community organizer Michael “Juicy Liu” Nguyen; and writer, artist and scholar Dorothy R. Santos star. Cartoonist and educator Realsoul; comedic artist Seewoo Lee; illustrator and cartoonist Lin Jiang; artist Althea J Solis; cartoonist Zareen Choudhury; comedian Ivan Zaho; and Twice Cooked Zines are on deck for the comics, zines and artwork showcase.

2 p.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 15 Free upon registration. Kapwa Gardens, 967 Mission Street, SF

Filmmaker Pallavi Somusetty on location in Hawaii. Photo: Debra A. Wilson

“Grounding, a cinematic showcase”

Documentary filmmaker Pallavi Somusetty is the featured artist on “Grounding, a Film Showcase,” which also includes work by AnQi Yu and Mel Guo, Katie Mansfield, Safa Doost, Michelle Cai, and Mirrored Fatality.

Growing up in Fremont — “with two years in India as a teenager for being bad” — and currently residing in Oakland, Somusetty is a first-time APAture participant. “For the past three years, art is what kept me going, art that people created or that I created myself,” she said. “As BIPOC artists, our challenges are all the greater. And I think it’s good to have a little more support, especially within our own communities.

12:30-3 p.m. Oct. 23 General admission $10, reserved seating $25 with Kearny Street Workshop 50th Anniversary t-shirt. Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St, SF

“Voice, a showcase of literary arts”

Poet, writer, and filmmaker Christine No is a veteran of the 2017 and 2019 APAture festivals and will be the featured artist in “Voice, a Literary Arts Showcase.” The event also includes poet Antmen Pimentel Mendoza, poet Keana Aguila Labra, writer Diana Fu, Susan Calvillo, Aaron Fai and memoirist/writer Jen Soong.

Poet, writer and filmmaker Christine No. Photo: Provided by Christine No

Christine No grew up in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles and enrolled in KSW’s three-month interdisciplinary writers lab in 2017 after moving to the Bay Area. “I was really excited because I had never been part of a community like this,” she said.

“I remember feeling a lot of anxiety about my first one,” she replied, when asked about her APAture debut in 2017. “But after a few years and getting to know the creative family of Kearny Street and community, I feel a lot less embarrassed and share what self-reliance has meant to me.

7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on October 28. $5 live stream ticket, $10 general admission, $25 reserved seat with Kearny Street Workshop 50th Anniversary t-shirt and two drink tickets. Arc Gallery & Studios, 1246 Folsom St., SF

Generosity, APAture 2022 Closing Reception

The closing reception and visual artists’ talk will include a performance by writer Sarah K Matsui and a scheduled discussion by the exhibiting artists, including Kwon.

1 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. Free upon registration. Arc Gallery & Studios, 1246 Folsom St., SF

How can I get tickets?

The opening and closing receptions as well as the Multi-Arts Showcase are free upon registration. Tickets to the Film Showcase Screening & Talk and Literary Arts Showcase range from $10 to $25, and there’s also a $50 all-access option that includes a Kearny Street Workshop 50th Anniversary T-shirt and two drink tickets. Registration, ticket purchases and donations can all be done through