Naperville students host second annual CAWA Asian Youth Arts Exhibition

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More than 75 people gathered at Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson Ave., in late May for the second Asian Youth Arts Exhibition.

“We have 30 pieces of art and 17 artists,” said event organizer Isabel Yu. “A lot of these pieces demonstrate the student’s individuality, their passions, their struggles, and I think it’s really impactful.” 

Naperville students put a spotlight on Asian art

Recent Naperville North High School graduate Isabel Yu was one of seven students who coordinated the second annual showcase. She displayed her homemade jewelry and three art pieces.

“It says in Chinese letters on the phone ‘I love you, grandma,’” said Yu. “Just to show my efforts, trying to reconnect with my heritage, and my grandma. I think that piece is the most meaningful to me.”

Along with the artwork, three area students kicked off the showcase with musical performances.

CAWA helps students run art exhibition

The first Asian Youth Arts Exhibition was organized by recent Naperville North High School graduates Annie Chang and Audrey Yoon. During their junior year, the pair founded Asian Youth Arts, an organization of students at Naperville North involved with art.

Last year, Chang and Yoon reached out to Naperville non-profit, Chinese American Women in Action (CAWA), to help get the event off the ground.

“The first time they came to me they said (that they) want to have this show to allow a lot of students who are good artists, but they may not go on to become artists in college, but they still want to show their talents,” said Nancy Chen, founding president of CAWA. “This is the second year, and I’m just very happy that we provide a forum for them to express themselves.”

Naperville mayor gives AAPI Heritage Month proclamation

At the event, Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli delivered a proclamation celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.

Chen and CAWA Youth representatives in turn presented Wehrli with a traditional Chinese art piece.

“Sometimes our differences are what make our relationship stronger,” said Wehrli. “We are today celebrating yet another successful CAWA event, sharing art, sharing music, sharing enlightenment. It’s a beautiful thing you put together here.”

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