Friday, January 22, 2016

Lao Artist Spotlight: Aloun Phoulavan

In Minnesota, one of the Lao American visual artists who is working to rebuild our artistic and cultural traditions is Aloun Phoulavan. He was born on 1971 in Vientiane, Laos and raised in Northeast Thailand. He is particularly significant as one of the few Lao Americans in the country teaching art at the K-12 level, with over 13 years of applied experience.  This includes a decade in the St. Paul Public Schools. He's also taught reading at Columbia Academy middle school in the Columbia Heights Public Schools. 

I've worked with him in the past on several exhibitions and projects of mine, including the Legacies of War: Refugee Nation Twin Cities interdisciplinary exhibit at Intermedia Arts, the Re:Generation exhibit of Hmong and Lao Art, as well as The Five Senses Show at the Babylon Gallery. He's been a great part of the Lao American Writers Summit, and was one of the three visual artists that Saymoukda Vongsay and I showcased back in 2004 during our groundbreaking Lao'd and Clear performance.

He's the second oldest of five children born to immigrant Lao/Thai parents. His family arrived in the United States in 1976 as part of the first wave of Southeast Asian immigrants to the United States initially settled in a South Central Wisconsin city. 

His K-12 education was in the Janesville Public School system in Janesville Wisconsin. He received his undergraduate degree in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin- Stout in Menomonie. He completed an M. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Art Education from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in the winter of 2003, and obtained a Reading Specialist License at Hamline University June 2010. He once taught at the Global Prodigy Academy in Jeonju, South Korea.

He's enjoyed travel and is inspired by numerous artists including Picasso. You can read an interview with him at Little Laos on the Prairie done in September, 2015. He used to have a website at but it's been down for a little while.

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