Although the larger Bay Area is home to nearly 200,000 people of Vietnamese origin, there are very few arts and culture programs that address the experiences and needs of this community. The lack of access to arts that confront the lingering pain of broken families, communities and social ties as a result of war and migration delay the healing process in the community that could foster positive changes and the relationship to other communities and society. DVAN addresses this lack through organizing Visual Arts programs accompanied with lectures and workshops will allow the community to benefit from the rich body of cultural works which address their experiences and history.
DVAN organized a 2 weeks long summer program for middle and high school youth of Southeast Asian descent from the Tenderloin neighbourhood. Responding to the evaluation from our first youth program in 2011, the summer program was an intensive course, which provided students with the artistic tools in visual arts, creative writing, and performing arts to critically analyse their relationship to the community, its history and the society at large. Each day was divided into two sessions. Vietnamese American and artists of color in the Bay Area led morning classes about art and its impact on communities and the society. In the afternoon, students worked in groups to produce their own artworks. The program encompassed two field trips to expose the students to other Southeast Asian communities in San Francisco. The program hosted a final exhibition where the students presented their own artworks and chapbook to their families and community.
DVAN's Youth Group Program orginated with three teaching artists (Khoi Nguyen, Danny Nguyen, and Anhvu Buchanan) collaborating the Vietnamese Youth Development Center in the L.I.F.E (Leadership, Identity, Future, and Empowerment) Skills program. Since September 2011, the teaching artists represented DVAN by facilitating workshops alongside VYDC staff. These workshops engaged participants to critically and creatively examine their understanding of community, family/social life, communication skills, health and wellness, and their own personal experiences. L.I.F.E. Skills’ graduated a class of 10 youth participants, ages 16-21, most of whom are Southeast Asian immigrants living in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, home to the city’s Vietnamese community.