Harvardwood is pleased to announce that filmmaker Joseph Lee AB ‘22, visual artist Ava Jinying Salzman AB ‘23, and filmmaker/writer Samantha Mari Woolf AB ‘23 have been named as the inaugural Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Harvardwood AAPI Artist Fellows. Joseph Lee is a filmmaker and director whose stories are deeply rooted in his experiences with his Korean-American heritage and his family's struggles with financial hardship and disability. His work has been shown at LAAPFF and NFFTY, and he is the grand prize winner of the Shore Scripts Short Film Competition. He has directed and developed content for clients such as Janet Yang Productions, Jubilee Media, and Hearst Media. In his free time, he writes children's books with his brother and is a competitive archer. Ava Jinying Salzman is a visual artist, writer, graphic novelist, and multidisciplinary artist from Los Angeles, California. Her lifelong passion lies in uncovering the stories that haunt us: in giving artistic form to the ghosts and monsters of our pasts, so that we might confront and embrace them. Her latest project is an original graphic novel dealing with the ghosts of a more personal history. Sam Woolf is a writer and aspiring multi-hyphenate. Due to a love of folktales and her half-Japanese background, Sam is drawn to stories that connect multiple worlds and differing perspectives. This passion usually manifests as magical realist screenplays about ghosts––characters that might exist between life and death. Each Fellow will receive a multi-thousand-dollar project grant in support of their proposed artistic endeavors. The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Harvardwood AAPI Artist Fellowship was created in 2023 with a gift from Angela Chao (AB ‘95, MBA ‘01) in honor of her mother, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao. Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao was a philanthropist, mother of six daughters, and lifelong advocate for equitable education. Like her namesake, Chinese folk heroine Hua Mulan, Mrs. Chao faced adversity with extraordinary grace, courage, and determination. In 2016 she became the first woman and Asian American to have a building named in her honor at Harvard University. Angela Chao, Mrs. Chao’s youngest daughter and CEO of Foremost Group, states: "My mother was an inspiration to my sisters and me. She worked very hard and made many sacrifices to support her daughters' educations and potential in life. It is my hope that this fellowship will help honor her legacy and inspire others to embrace her values and generosity. She would have been proud to support a cause that provides opportunities for AAPI students to make their voices heard and break down barriers as an important step toward celebrating and protecting our heritage and the Asian American Pacific Islander community.” Harvardwood Founder Mia Riverton Alpert (AB ‘99) said, "Angela Chao has long been a champion for the arts and the AAPI community. This generous and impactful Fellowship in honor of her mother, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, continues a legacy of extraordinary leadership and demonstrates a deep commitment to supporting AAPI artists, bringing their rich and diverse stories to global audiences." Click here for more info!
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