JAPANESE ARTS NETWORK (JA-NE) is a national resource for artistic collaboration and connection. We provide access to resources, and develop programs and platforms that support and strengthen visibility for Japanese Artists in America who create with 'cultural intention' and are vital to society. We are dedicated to bringing together artists, communities, and stakeholders by celebrating and advancing Japanese arts experiences in America. We believe art should be valued for its vital contribution to society.
We connect artists to collaborators and build beneficial partnerships and relationships with stakeholders and communities to recognize the interdependence of all players in the field. We develop programs and initiatives to encourage a sustainable and symbiotic relationship between artists, communities, and stakeholders. We raise-up the artist’s experience as a person of Japanese descent in America, and provide opportunity and resources for them; recognizing the struggles they might face as part of a marginalized community. We strive to expand the reach of communities by partnering them with Japanese artists in America to broaden audience engagement and investment. We help communities to connect with one another across the country, increase connections across generations with the arts as a vessel/tool for communication, and nurture the sharing of stories, culture, and ideas. We generate dialogue and educate through the arts; and explore the alignment between artists' intrinsic values and community needs.
JA-NE's Team includes: Courtney Ozaki (Founder), and Cultural Consultants Afnan Al-Yafaey, Akemi Tsutsui-Kunitake, Evan Shigaya, Margaret Ozaki-Graves, and Matthew Ryan Durgin.
STORIES OF SOLIDARITY aims to showcase the strength and resilience that exists when BIPOC communities unite. These stories exist throughout our history, but they are not widely known to the public. Our project recognizes that we have shared experiences of systemic racism in this country and implores us to understand that we are stronger together. We aim to gather stories of solidarity within the BIPOC communities in Colorado, share these stories with BIPOC artists and creatives to educate and share about current solidarity and as found throughout history, and to promote and share these stories with the wider community online and in-person.
MATTHEW RYAN DURGIN see ARTISTS
SHANNON GEIS (WESTERN SOUND ALLIANCE) is an oral historian and multimedia producer living and working in Denver, Colorado. Shannon has worked on a wide variety of audio projects. She specializes in documenting how we interact with the world around us in both the past and present. She has focused on location-specific exhibits, live events, tours, and historical research, and she is particularly interested in connecting places to the voices of those who have lived and worked there. She is a regular contributor to the audio magazine Low Orbit. And she was the associate producer and co-host of a limited series documentary podcast exploring the assassination of radio talk show host Alan Berg and the white supremacists behind the killing called The Order of Death.
JOIE HA (Community Organizer) is an activist and organizer for the Asian Pacific Islander American community in Colorado. She has a BA in Anthropology and a Masters in Development Practice with a focus on holistic methods of treating mental health for the Vietnamese refugee community in Denver. She has completed development work in Malaysia as a Community Development Officer in Kampung Sungai Suloh, and Cambodia as a researcher regarding how hip-hop can create fictive kin for youth enticed by the familial aspects of gangs. With over 10 years of community organizing, Joie has specialties in event-planning, Diversity and Inclusion training, and data equity. She currently works as a Partnership Specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, specializing in outreach for undercounted populations; and serves as the Vice-Chair for the Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission.
COURTNEY OZAKI (Creative Producer)
After receiving her MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College, Courtney worked as a project manager and dance producer for Joyce Theater Productions with whom she developed and toured new works by international artists including Wendy Whelan's (former Principal Dancer and current Associate Artistic Director at NYC Ballet ) Restless Creature with choreographers Kyle Abraham, Alejandro Cerrudo, Brian Brooks, and Joshua Beamish, and Daniil Simkin's (Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre) INTENSIO with choreographers including Jorma Elo, Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, and Alexander Ekman, and she coordinated touring for MalPaso Dance Company from Havana, Cuba. She is the founder of the Japanese Arts Network and is also the Business Manager for the Taiko Community Alliance. She is currently producing the new installation dance project IKKAI means once: a transplanted pilgrimage for KAMBARA+. Courtney is a professional taiko musician with over 25 years of experience and has performed across the globe in Dubai, as well as in major cities throughout the United States and is also a Japanese taiko and folk-dance teaching artist for the Cleo Parker Robinson International Summer Dance Institute.
MARGARET OZAKI-GRAVES see ARTISTS
LEAH PODZIMEK (LUSTER PRODUCTION)
Founded in 2019 by soprano Leah Podzimek, Luster Productions is a unique, Denver-based creative consultancy offering bespoke interactive performances and installations throughout the Rocky Mountain Region. Working often within the artforms of opera and classical music, Luster adapts live performances to any venue and all thematic needs - from art exhibits and public spaces to airplane hangars and living rooms. Luster works primarily with local artists, helping to positively impact the local arts economy and support Colorado creatives of all kinds.
EVAN SHIGAYA see JA-NE BIO
BRUCE TETSUYA (Filmmaker) is a Japanese-American director and photographer based between Denver & NYC. His work currently focuses on the narrative beauty of movement through the pairing of dance and cinematography. Bruce’s latest short films, Nightjar, and In Wake of the Crashing Dawn, have garnered festival acclaim. Bruce is also the founder of Definition Indigo, a narrative filmmaking team, and “The Dance of Cinema”, an online film publication with over 12K followers. If he’s not on set, you can find Bruce on the tennis court, or exploring new lands. Bruce is currently producing his first feature, and studying Greek & Japanese. His new film apparel brand launches soon at www.thedanceofcinema.com
AKEMI TSUTSUI-KUNITAKE see ARTISTS