Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine St
Philadelphia, PA 19107  ·  map
Phone: 215-557-0455

Anne Ishii, Executive Director | ext. 701
Rodney Camarce, Senior Programs Manager | ext. 704
Dave Kyu, Senior Programs Manager, Community | ext. 703
Catherine Lee, Development and Communications Manager
Jino Lee, Youth Arts Workshop Lead Teaching Artist | ext. 706
Matt Nelson, Building Operations Manager | ext. 707
Maisie O'Brien, Access Center Teaching Assistant
Julia Millan Shaw, Deputy Director | ext. 702
Joey Wong, Unity at the Initiative Project Manager 
Jiawen Xiong, Youth/Education Program Manager | ext. 705


Our Staff

Anne Ishii

Executive Director

Anne is a writer, editor and translator, who for the past ten years has worked specifically to achieve visibility and recognition for art and artists that touches on issues of gender and sexuality in the Asian diaspora. In her quest to platform more and better iterations of work from the API diaspora, Anne has worked in publishing and advertising, venture consulting and content strategy.

Rodney Camarce

Senior Programs Manager

Rodney returns to the Asian Arts Initiative after serving multiple arts organizations throughout Philadelphia as a visual artist, a facilitator, the Youth Development Manager for the Mural Arts Program and a graphic recorder for the Bartol Foundation, Lenfest Foundation, and Ground Work USA. He has served as a Co-Ambassador for the Racial Equity Network for the National Guild for Community Arts, has been a Community Organizer in South Philadelphia and the International District in Seattle, works to build solidarity among all people in struggle, believes that we must subvert this cultural genocide by any means necessary, and practice radical optimism to imagine new possibilities.

Dave Kyu

Senior Community Programs Manager

Dave is a socially engaged artist and writer. Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in the US, his work explores the creative tensions of identity, community, and public space. He has made public art with communities for the Asian Arts Initiative, Mural Arts Program, and the City of Philadelphia. His own creative projects have found him commissioning skywriting planes to write messages 10,000 feet over Philadelphia, and doing everything Facebook told him to do for a month. His essays have been published in Generocity, the Artblog, and the Philadelphia Citizen.

Catherine Lee

Development and Communications Manager

Catherine has her Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington. Prior to joining Asian Arts Initiative, Catherine worked with a number of Seattle-based nonprofits focusing on evaluation and program design as well as a Philadelphia-based consulting firm to manage an extensive portfolio of resource development plans and capital campaigns. Outside of work, Catherine is a Fair Trade advocate, a contributing writer to a Bhutan-based youth magazine, and leverages her expertise to support emerging artists. She also enjoys photography, collecting typewriters, and diversifying her collection of notebooks.

Jino Lee

Lead Teaching Artist (YAW)

Jino is a photographer based in Philadelphia. He is interested in how the quotidian use of photography creates stories we choose to remember as reality. With installations and bookmaking, he explores ways to experience photographs poetically and understand the nuance between reality and fiction in pictures.

Matt Nelson
(They/their; He/him)

Facilities Manager

Matt has been professionally collaborating with Asian Arts Initiative since 2012; first as a tenant and then later joining the staff in 2015. Matt is a Philadelphia-based artist, producer, arts facilitator, and educator whose work utilizes sculpture, site-specific installation, and devised performance to explore the vulnerabilities and strengths of the shelters in which we dwell; be it the walls we build, the masks we wear, and the skin we’re in. Matt enjoys all manner of geekery fare including table-top gaming, quizzo, and hunting burritos in the wild.

Maisie O'Brien

Access Center Teaching Assistant

Maisie is a Philly transplant hailing from Dallas, Texas. Coming for an education but staying for the people and the arts, she now pursues her dream of professional multitasking between teaching art exploring her own work in her studio. Her passions at the intersection of art, performance, and narrative have led her to explorations of and communities in printmaking, animation, music, puppetry, illustration, and arts/culture activism. When she's not teaching or in studio, Maisie is most likely feeding or baking with her unexpectedly aggressive sourdough starter.

Julia Millan Shaw

Deputy Director

Julia joined the Asian Arts Initiative team in the Spring of 2016. Prior to joining Asian Arts Initiative, Julia  worked on statewide campaigns focused on wildlife conservation and protecting endangered species, protecting wild lands in Alaska, political advocacy and campaigns and fundraising for public schools. Julia is a Graduate Hospital resident, by way of New Jersey and Alaska, and has a dedication to protecting land and wildlife both at home and across the country. She also spends time as an advocate for arts, education and urban agriculture in her city and is a mom to three young children.

Joey Wong

Unity at the Initiative Project Manager

Joey recently graduated with a Masters degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, where their greatest learning took place in community with local Philadelphia organizations and community members. Prior to their program, Joey worked as the Programs Manager at the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), and they currently work part-time as a grantwriter with the Centro de Cultura, Arte, Trabajo, y Educación (CCATE) and as a teaching assistant at UPenn. They carry with them a deep appreciation for the stories of their ancestors, whose care fuels Joey’s drive to continue equity work in public service and social justice spaces, passing the baton forward to future generations. Joey received their Bachelors degree in Neuroscience and Asian Pacific Islander American Studies from the College of William & Mary. In their spare time, they love crying to Filipino movies and songs, speeding downhill on their bike, and gardening.

Jiawen Xiong

Youth Education Programs Manager

Jiawen completed her Master in Intercultural Communication from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Born and raised in China, studied in Greece and the US, her interest lies in intercultural education for the immigrant community. After joining the Asian Arts Initiative in fall 2017, her work involves using experiential learning and art activities to assist the students with exploring their own cultural identities.

Gayle Isa is a Founder and former Executive Director of Asian Arts Initiative. Gayle has been a Douglas Redd Fellow focused on arts and community development and has served on the boards of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the National Performance Network, and the national Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists. She has also been a member of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs and the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council, and was the first Asian American appointed to serve on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She has been an aspiring dramaturg and taiko drummer, and is currently focusing her creative energy on parenting her school-aged daughter.