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

Anne Ishii, Executive Director | ext. 701
Mehgan Abdel-Moneim, Lead Teaching Artist
Audra Allen, Director of Development | ext. 713
Rodney Camarce, Senior Programs Manager | ext. 704
Samantha Carr, Office Director | ext. 709
Dave Kyu, Director of Programs | ext. 703
Jino Lee, Marketing & Communications Manager | ext. 706
Matt Nelson, Director of Operations & Finance | ext. 707
Cleeandre Ross, Building Custodian | ext. 711
Julia Millan Shaw, Deputy Director | ext. 702
Joey Wong, Development Operations Manager | ext. 708 
Jiawen Xiong, Education Program Manager | ext. 705 
Kong Yang, Teaching Assistant 


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.

Mehgan Abdel-Moneim

Lead Teaching Artist

Mehgan is a dance, performance and visual artist based in Philadelphia. She has studied Ballet, Modern and Postmodern dance, but recently focused her training on Kenpo and club dances including Salsa, Bachata and Waacking. Her visual art practice is a shifting exploration of found object sculpture, interactive installation, photography, painting, woodworking and maybe more - depending on what she finds in the trash. If she’s not dancing, building ideas out of recycled/bartered items, or encouraging young students to create, you’ll find her performing snarky skits on instagram.

Audra Allen

Director of Development

Prior to joining AAI Audra specialized in fund development and capacity building for arts and performance-based nonprofits across the Mid-Atlantic region. Her background in community organizing and government has informed her work and produced creative partnerships between policy-makers and the philanthropic sector exploring cultural engagement. 

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.

Samantha Carr

Office Director

Samantha joined the Asian Arts Initiative team in the summer of 2021. Prior to joining AAI, Samantha has worked with local nonprofits including the College of Physicians of Philadelphia/Mütter Museum, and Philadelphia Futures. Born and raised in Philly, with a professional background in nonprofit administration and education, and a passion for arts and culture, Samantha is excited to dive into this new role with AAI! In her free time, she enjoys traveling, crafting, gardening, and DIY house projects.

Dave Kyu

Director of Programs

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.

Jino Lee

Marketing & Communications Manager

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/them; He/him)

Director of Operations & Finance

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 manipulated materials, site-specific installation, and devised performance to explore self-examination, voyeuristic observation, and historical anachronism.

Cleeandre Ross

Building Custodian

Cleeandre is a student at the master’s level attaining a clinical psychology degree. He has been in choirs, theater productions, and a member of many hip-hop dance teams. Cleeandre’s desire is to help in making the world a more accepting place, but he understands that starts with changing himself. Cleeandre is excited to assist in making AAI a safe and welcoming place for the community.

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

Development Operations Manager

Joey Wong is a trans Filipinx who carries 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. Prior to working at AAI, they received their masters in nonprofit management and worked with various nonprofits and academic institutions serving minoritized communities in Philly and DC. In their spare time, Joey loves crying to Filipino movies + songs, speeding downhill on their bike, and cultivating new buds in their garden.

Jiawen Xiong

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.

Kong Yang

Teaching Assistant

Kong is a Hmong Visual Artist born in Thailand and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Her backgrounds are in Sculpture, Culinary Arts, and Special Education. Her work is inspired by traditional Hmong embroidery and textiles celebrating Hmong women and their resiliency to cultural change. As an immigrant and refugee in the United States, Kong has always been interested in generational stories of migration and integration as she continue to explore the tensions between her identity and cultural belonging. During her free time, Kong works out of her studio in Kensington, is an avid runner, traveler, and loves horror films.

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.