Community Celebrates Nancy Hom's 45-Year Legacy of Art and Activism


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 13, 2019 -

Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) presents Passionate Engagement: The Art of Nancy Hom, a retrospective exhibition of visual artist Nancy Hom's 45-year art career in San Francisco. Co-presented by Luggage Store Gallery, the exhibition runs from March 1-30, 2019 and features Hom’s iconic silkscreens, installations, and an evolving mandala installation that starts with her 2015 Soul of San Francisco mandala and morphs into a new design by the last week of the show.

In the late 60s and early 70s, a movement of consciousness swept the nation. From solidarity with domestic and global struggles for decolonization and human rights to cultural organizing in African American, Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, and Native American communities, these movements greatly influenced Hom’s art and community work. Reflecting on this dynamic period, Nancy Hom comments, “There was a sense of reclaiming - our identity, our history, our neighborhoods, our sexuality, our ethnic pride.”

After working with several groups in the East Coast, Hom moved to San Francisco in 1974 and joined the nascent Asian American arts scene in the City. She became director of Kearny Street Workshop and greatly contributed to growth of other Bay Area cultural organizations, such as Manilatown Heritage Foundation and Asian American Women Artists Association. Her work, informed by her deep engagements with community and cultural work, both captures the zeitgeist of San Francisco in the 1970s and affirms the power of art-making in the fight towards collective liberation.

Fast forward to the present cultural moment and the radical longevity of Nancy Hom’s career and her indelible impacts as an Asian American woman artist, cultural director, and community organizer seem nearly unimaginable and wholly inspiring. A 2018 MIT study found that, out of the over 10,000 artists housed in the permanent collections of eighteen prominent U.S. art museums, 87% were male and 85% were white (MIT Technology Review). Honoring Nancy Hom during Women’s History Month prompts a critical moment of commemoration and reflection. In the face of institutional inequities, communities can remember the far-reaching legacies of underrepresented artists. In celebrating Nancy Hom’s multifaceted career and participatory artwork, audiences can reshape conventional understandings on the value of art and the role of the artist.

“Nancy Hom’s work has honed in on what community arts can be,” says APICC’s Artistic Director Melanie Elvena. “Each piece has a thoughtful story or message that represents a community, a movement, an idea, or a place, and redefines the role that art plays in activism. For instance, individuals gather together to be part of Nancy’s artistic mandala process, to represent themselves and things that mean most to them about the city. The final result is something temporary but beautiful where viewers find symbols and images of things past and present; its circular patterns allude to our connectivity while carving out space for collective reflection.”

For the past seven years, Hom has concentrated on the mandala art form as a way to foster unity and healing through the telling of personal and communal narratives. From speaking to her own journey of transformation, to honoring the long-standing impact of Kearny Street Workshop, to celebrating Day of the Dead at Oakland Museum of California, she has created eighteen unique mandala projects that explore individual identity, collective grief, and community celebration. Ranging in size from 3-feet to 12-feet, her mandalas are an example of non-static modes of artistic expression that highlight the inextricable ties between the artist and the community.


In this exhibition, she will continue to engage community members in creating items for the new “Evolving San Francisco” mandala. Working with students from Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 School in the Mission and senior residents of TODCO Development Company housing in the South of Market, Hom will transform the mandala with fresh, unique additions before each public program, creating a living installation that will change shape throughout the exhibition run.

Exhibition programs throughout the month will include an artist talk, a poetry reading by Hom accompanied by performances, and a panel discussion with local artists on our changing city and how it has impacted the lives of its long-time residents.



Opening Reception | March 1 @ 7-9pm

Free, all ages event celebrating the opening of Passionate Engagement: The Art of Nancy Hom at The Luggage Store. Evening program includes artist remarks.

Open To You: Artist Talk with Nancy Hom | March 9 @ 2-4pm (artist talk, exhibition tour)

Join Nancy Hom for an exclusive, behind the scenes tour of Passionate Engagement: The Art of Nancy Hom and learn about her 45-year artistic career.

Dear SF | March 15 @ 7-9pm (poetry, performances)

An evening of poetry + performances by artists with deep connections to San Francisco. Featuring poetry by Nancy Hom, performance by Leticia Hernández-Linares, and more.

Evolving SF | March 23 @ 2-4pm (panel discussion)

Artists Jason Bayani, Lenore Chinn, Pam Peniston, Rio Yanez, Weston Teruya (moderator), and more come together to discuss the SF Bay Area’s changing landscape, and its impact on generations of long term residents, artists, and community organizers.

Closing Reception | March 30 @ 2-4pm

Witness the final iteration of Nancy Hom’s new mandala while partaking in a community potluck to close out the exhibition.


WHERE: Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

WHEN: March 1-30, 2019

Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat 12-5pm (or by appointment)



Nancy Hom is an artist, writer, curator and arts consultant. Born in Toisan, China and raised in New York City, she has been an influential leader in the SF Bay Area art scene since 1974. Over the years, she has created many iconic images for community cultural events as well as political and social causes. Through her posters, poetry, illustrations, installations, and curatorial work, Nancy has used the arts to affirm the histories, struggles, and contributions of communities of color. Since 2012, her large floor mandalas have evolved from personal expressions to educational stories and spiritual contemplations that involve direct community input. As a vehicle for healing, they offer reflections on change, interdependence, and shared purpose.

In addition to pushing artistic boundaries, Nancy has also nurtured the creative and organizational growth of over a dozen Bay Area arts organizations. In her long involvement with Kearny Street Workshop, a historic Asian American arts organization, Nancy served as Executive Director from 1995 to 2003. She is a Gerbode Fellow (1998) and KQED Local Hero (2003), as well as a grant recipient. Her recent awards include the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors grant (2012) and the San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award (2013), plus two grants in 2018 by the SF Arts Commission and the California Arts Council, given to APICC to support her retrospective.


Our mission at the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) is to support and produce multidisciplinary art reflective of the unique experiences of Asians and Pacific Islanders living in the United States. APICC was founded in 1996 by representatives of five nonprofit arts groups: Asian American Dance Performances, First Voice, Asian Improv aRts, the Asian American Theater Company, and Kearny Street Workshop. Since 1998, the center has promoted the artistic and organizational growth of San Francisco’s API arts community by organizing and presenting the annual United States of Asian America Festival as well as commissioning contemporary art for and by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.