Providing capital for emerging Hmong artists


Thank you for your interesting Celebrate Hmong’s 2nd year of the STAR Grant. We’re here to cultivate Hmong creative excellence and that starts with giving away two (2) $250 grants!

Nominations close on April 20, 2020.

For our second year, we are asking YOU to help us highlight emerging artists within the Hmong community. Emerging refers to those artists whose talents have not quite been discovered yet – be they in the visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, or film. Help us by nominating people (or yourself!) who fit this description. Nominees must identify as having Hmong heritage, fill out our interview form and have select photos of them published and potentially be photographed for use with marketing materials for Celebrate Hmong by signing our media release at the end of the application. Nominated artists can be from all ages and sectors.



Nomination Period (3/16 – 4/20)
Voting Period (4/24 – 4/30)
Live Announcement (FRIDAY, 5/1)


  • Voting begins when selected nominees are announced
  • LIKE the Celebrate Hmong Facebook page to stay up to date
  • Winners of $250 goes to the person with the most Likes, Comments, and Shares.
  • Live Broadcast of the grant recipient on Friday, 5/1

Have a question? Please email us at celebratehmong@tigerbytestudios.com.




  1. Scholarships & grants open to all Hmong people
  2. To nominate an emerging artist for a scholarship or grant, fill out the submissions form here.
  3. Scholarship & grant program is separate from art & media festival.
  4. Nominees for scholarships & grants are limited to one person, submissions to the art & media festival are unlimited in number
  5. Scholarships & Grants are a different process than submissions to the art & media festival – art & media festival submissions are unlimited.
  6. Any entries accepted to the art & media festival will receive a stipend that is SEPARATE from scholarships and grants.
  7. Artists accepted to the art & media festival are still eligible to receive scholarships and grants through nomination.



Our 2019 STAR Grant Winner

See all 2019 STAR Grant Applicants

Aline Tongkhuya

ALINE TONGKHUYA BIO: I’ve loved to draw since I was little. I started experimenting with different mediums of art to see where my true talent was. Over the past year I’ve learned to improve my skills in ceramics & graphic design. I’ve found a passion in graphic design and studio art and wanted to pursue a career in the field. I’ve always been a creative person my entire life and I hope to continue creating myself through my work. I wish for my name and my work to be known, I want people to know about the content I produce. I engage in art because it is what I know since childhood. It’s become a part of me. When I was barely a teenager, graphic art was an escape from reality. I grew up with a tough family and have endured different forms of abuse, so the only therapy I had was a paper and pen. The thing about ‘art’, is that you never know what you’re good at until you try it. Even then, perfection is not the key. Through this process you find yourself capable of more and you discover things about yourself that you never knew were there. Art helps to reinvent yourself after you thought you were broken and couldn’t be fixed again.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Dao Xiong

DAO XIONG BIO: My name is Dao Xiong. I graduated with a criminology degree. Soon after I graduated, my brother's passion for creating games pulled me in. He is the creator of our starting game studio. I am the level designer and most importantly, marketer for this game that we are currently creating. We noticed that there are many games based on other Asian cultures, but none of them are in Hmong. We want to be one of the first game designers to create games based on the Hmong cultures so that other race can know about our awesome/scary stories. Our goal is to only create games that are based on the Hmong cultures and way of life. We hope that you will be there side by side with us as we take on this bumpy journey together.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Coua Lee

COUA LEE BIO: I've been a practicing sand art for 9 years. When I first it I was so amazed at how beautiful it was that I said to myself "I'm going to be a sand artist one day." I started painting in my laundry room with dirt on a tupperware lid and a dim, broken light underneath. I never thought I would get this far with the support that my family and friends have shown. Everyday, I make it a goal to share sand art to others because it deserves to be shared. Stories deserves to be told and communities are meant to be brought together and experience the stories. No matter how many difficulties I have as an artist, I persevere because people want to learn sand art. They believe in it as much as I do. This world seems like a safer, warmer place when I get the chance to perform.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Gary Yang

GARY YANG BIO: My name is Gary yang. I’m 33 and a active breaker or Bboy. I was a prior healthcare work for community regional medical center and now I’m a recreational leader with the city parks. The reason why I’m applying for this is just to let you know what my passion is. My passion is breaking or breakdancing. My motivation for breaking comes from the heart. Breaking saved my life. In 2014 I found myself at halt in my life. Going through a terrible divorce and losing almost everything from my home to my own well being. I found myself dancing again to help find myself and recover from my depression. I am a active Bboy who practices, hosts session spots, competing regularly, organizes competitions and teaches breaking in the community. The reason why I engage in this dance is because of all the positive energy it brings me. From helping staying in shape to surrounding myself with good friends and opportunities. Breaking has given me a platform to become the person I always wanted to be, a strong and caring person who not only thinks of himself but his community. As a highlight I just want everyone to know that I am the main organizer for the Hmong CUltural new year celebration, inc. breaking Jam held every year in Fresno ca.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Hillary Lor

HILLARY LOR BIO: Hillary has played the flute for over 10 years! The flute has become her voice to express her deepest thoughts and emotions to touch the heart of others. Although the Western Flute is her main instrument, she is currently exploring flutes from around the world such as the Hulusi, the Khlui and more. Here is a Facebook article on her: https://www.facebook.com/simplyshashee/posts/615412112227127

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Hwhuaj Lee

HWHUAJ LEE BIO: We all have similar stories of why our parents didn't want us to be an artist, they were scared to see us fail. They wanted us to begin where they saw successes as doctors and lawyers, I wanted to prove to them that being an artist is successful. My story begins similar to most, but what motivated me was my love to create an escape from reality. To create stories that would inspire or engage an audience. I went to school for Animation, I never felt that was for me, so I continued onto Grad School; currently graduating this semester with my MFA in Visual Development. This is where I found what I loved to do, you might ask what Visual Development might be, These are the artists that create the mood, tone, and color palette of every piece for an animated or live action film. This can include environments, characters, and clothing. Which boils down to, they create the look of the film before it moves on screen. Lets see if I'll be working on the next Marvel movie or animated films!

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Kayhlia Yang

KAYHLIA YANG BIO: I am a Hmong-Lao American Woman from Sacramento, California. I was initially sparked and pushed to write about our Asian American community struggles when I heard stories of struggle from my own family members. I am motivated to create change for my Asian American community. I realized how much we go through as a community being in the Untied States, I speak out for us and the injustices we face because I believe our stories deserve to be heard. I engage in art because it is an outlet for myself. Writing spoken word poetry has always been something I have enjoyed from a young age. Being able to use my artistry of writing has allowed me to feel a sense of relief that I am able to tell my own story of struggle and sacrifice. I want to be highlighted amongst the Hmong community because I believe this will allow more exposure to people in our community. Although I have been writing for several years, I am still new to the scene of actually performing my art and putting myself out there. This highlight would be a great opportunity for myself to have that exposure to the Hmong community. I hope that my art resonates with those who listen and take the time to actually engage in the purpose of my writings.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Jasmine Vang

JASMINE VANG BIO: I am an Actor, Clown, Poet, Playwright and Theatre Maker. Above all things, I am an artist who strives to create work that empowers the unheard voices of our world. I was born and raised in Fresno, California where I was surrounded by all things Hmong. As I moved to college, I began to discover the power in my roots and history as a Hmong person. To me, performing is allowing my idiosyncratic creativity and imagination be in service of community. My art is activism. I strive to create art that encompasses both my Hmong and American identity. My existence alone, as a Hmong American Woman, is an act of resistance. Creating art tells our stories, and illuminates our part of the human experience. Most of my work is devised theatre, meaning it’s written by an ensemble rather than a standard straight play. Those include Mi Amiga La Luna, Woke!: A Revolutionary Cabaret, 11.23.20, and Dreamers Aqui y Alla. These were produced at Cal Repertory Theatre and Theatre Threshold at Long Beach State. In these devised productions, I’ve received the opportunity to recite my personal poetry about my Hmong American experience. I’ve also discovered myself as a playwright and solo artist. I’ve had a play produced by Theatre Threshold for a New Play Festival called Clam Chowder. I am currently workshopping a play called Wife 10,000, about two sisters coming to terms with their Hmong American identity. I’m planning to produce this play for the Celebrate Hmong Festival.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Kimberly Lee

KIMBERLY LEE BIO: My name is Kimberly Lee and I am a Hmong Woman rapper. I use my identities of being Hmong, a woman and being part of the LGBTQ+ to empower, inspire and spread awareness in the Hmong community. The hardships and experiences that I go through, I choose to express it through the platform of an artist so listeners know that they are not alone. Although much of my work is in fact poetry, I chose music because I feel that music is universal without having to understand the language itself. I engage in being a Hmong artist to take back the language in a time where assimilation is affecting many of our youth to lose the language. I am motivated as an artist to continue my work because of the people who have told me how much my songs have meant to them and how much it touched their hearts. I believe that our community could use more artists that are able to express a variety of topics. In my work, I have covered depression, self-love, identity, and the Hmong people’s oppression faced in America.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Matthew Moua

MATTHEW MOUA BIO: I'm a local, Stockton raised, Hmong, punk/hardcore guy who lived life outside of the Hmong community. Being different motivates me. I never was really in one place at a time. My parents are divorced. I was basically homeless as a teenager. I grew up with punks and hardcore kids. I'm straight edge. I love punk and hardcore. The fact of being an outsider is what made me feel that emptiness that needed something else outside of the Hmong community. I was raised as an American. My cousins went my best friends. I can barely understand Hmong. I used to draw a lot as a kid, but when I was a teen I used to graffiti with my friends. I engaged in art as something of an emotion that I could never grasp. Highlight whatever you want, but I cant say confidently, I may be the whitest Hmong person you know.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Meng Thao

MENG THAO BIO: Growing up art was always a hobby for me, I never really thought of it as a career path. I brushed it aside because my parents, probably like yours believes that the arts whether it be drawing, painting, dance, or music would bring no fortune. It wasn't until I got to college it's where I truly understood that maybe art was not just a hobby and it was a career. In high school I was in leadership and I was always the go to guy when it came to posters. The teacher had assigned me to make all the posters for the football games and senior games. People would even request for me to make their posters. . I guess that’s where I should have sparked a thought in my head that art was my career, but I was arrogant and thought I was going to be an actor. After I graduated high school I went to Fresno State to study theatre but with in the first semester I went from theatre major to undeclared. In the time that I was undeclared I took a bunch of art classes. The art classes were super fun and I really enjoyed taking the time to perfect my pieces. The instructors had motivated me and I eventually switched my major to art. That was short lived thought because I eventually dropped out. I dropped out on good standing my third year of college because I wanted to do more than just draw, paint, and sculpt. I wanted to TATTOO! I wanted to break the mold from being a regular studio artist and the mold from Hmong culture to be a tattoo artist. It took me a while but after a year of dropping out I acquired a tattoo apprenticeship and that’s where I am at now.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Pa Soua Vue

PA SOUA VUE BIO: I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and being a daughter in a Hmong house hold, it was expected of me to do chores and go to school to become a nurse. However, my interest and passion had always been in art. As I have heard and learned of the stories of the secret war and the sacrifice our grandparents and parents made for us to have a good life. I wanted to express my gratitude to my people and my family as I continue with my interest in portrait drawings. I want to recognize my Hmong people and how far we have come with our painful and significant history that cannot be forgotten. It will not be easy to convince my parents of my passion in art and that is what really motivates me to keep my art alive because I know they will eventually come to understand. I wanted to be a Hmong woman artist that will break that barrier for the next generation that aspires to be artist.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
ShaShee Yang

SHASHEE YANG BIO: "ShaShee Yang is a Hmong-American Musician, specializing in playing the Alto Saxophone. He has been playing the Saxophone for more than 10 years now and is motivated to become a better musician. ShaShee combines Hmong Music, Pop, Jazz, Blues, Funk, and Rock all into one. His unique style and flare in his music performance have brought joy and humor to many crowds. His goals as a musician are to inspire and empower the Asian American community and its youth. He wants to show the world that Art is an active form of self-expression that can heal and build bridges between communities and generations. ShaShee also loves to be active and play sports (Soccer and Volleyball). He enjoys spending time with family and friends. He enjoys mingling and meeting new people. A weekend at home watching Kdramas and movies is an excellent way for him to relax as well. ShaShee is 22 years old and is currently a Senior at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities pursuing his degree in Psychology. He aspires to work as a Pharmacist someday, applying his background in Mental Health and Musical Therapy in medicine."

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Xia Xiong

XIA XIONG BIO: I am in nature a visual artist. I’ve always wanted to engage in the community as an artist but as I grow and learn, I discover that I do not connect well with my heritage and in my journey back to my roots, I realize that most stories about the Hmong are written and told by the perspective of white people and I find that very unfortunate and problematic, I wish to inspire pur youth to want to learn about themselves and their hmong heritage in this modern world so that our children will not have to bare our trauma that have been passed on to each and every one of us,.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Ying Pao Vang

YING PAO VANG BIO: The reason I engage in art is pretty much like anyone else that enjoys making art. I engage in art because it gives me a voice, I'm more comfortable sharing my work and feelings through the work that I do. Another reason as to why I engage in art is because it's a dream of mine to get my work out there. I want to make a name for myself and my family when my time comes. I want people to remember me as more than just the guy that I am but a artist who changes the view culture with my own unique style of work.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019
Sheng Vue

SHENG VUE BIO: As I grow older creative expression is becoming essential to how I connect with myself and my community at a deeper level. I believe love heals - that we all came here to thrive, to remember the love within us, and to express this love in the most heart-centered way. For me, art is the vehicle I choose to express this love through, and I hope my artwork inspires the love within you.

Posted by CelebrateHmong on Thursday, April 4, 2019


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