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About the Project

Artmaking & Conversations about Community & Art in The Little Mekong

This project is lead by Katie Ka Vang and is a community artmaking activity to uplift and engage our community with Little Mekong Cultural District. In this activity, you'll create your own wearable butterfly wings. 

What lifts you? What narratives and stories do you hold onto, holds you down, and lifts you up? Join us for these free artmaking sessions and free flowing conversations.

XIA & Mixed Blood Theater is partnering up to highlight stories and diversities of Little Mekong Cultural District. This partnership works with Katie Ka Vang to create a short performance that reflects the community and increase community engagement through "Butterfly Wings." 


This performance will be performed twice: once at XIA Gallery & Cafe and again at Mixed Blood with 11 other artists from 11 different Twin Cities communities. 

Our community partners in this initiative are the organizations located in Little Mekong such as: Asian Economic Development Association, Hmong Cultural Center, Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota, Springboard for the Arts, and Jamie Schumacher. 

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May 13, 2023 @10AM - 2PM

Everyone is welcome to participate!

It is a FREE family / friendly event located at XIA Gallery & Cafe.

Bring your own art project to work on, or art supplies to make cardboard butterfly wings will be provided.

Katie Ka Vang

Katie Ka Vang is a Hmong American Playwright and theater maker. Her work magnifies the nuances of communities + cultures and explores diaspora and disease. Her work is grounded in the heart and aims for systems change.

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About Little Mekong

A cultural district

A business and cultural district located between MacKubin and Marion streets along University Avenue, Little Mekong took shape in the 1970’s.


Named after the Mekong River that connects the cultures of Southeast Asia, this hub for Southeast Asian communities is stewarded by the Asian Economic Development Association and others.

The Little Mekong brand was launched in 2012 with the mission to build community, small businesses, and family wealth asset creation. The brand was created with the recognition of the 30-year history of Asian businesses and the Asian community in the area. In 1980s, Southeast Asian refugees settled in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul, and, as their numbers grew, the refugees started businesses and bought properties in the disinvested areas along and around University Avenue.

In 2013, 35% of neighborhood residents are Asians, and there are over 200 Asian owned businesses on University Avenue. Little Mekong, a five-block strip of the avenue, has but 80 businesses and a 25% vacancy but has the highest concentration of Asian businesses in the city.

Little Mekong is not a business entity. It is an initiative of Asian Economic Development Association, a 501c3. Little Mekong is a district whose members are small businesses, property owners, and community organizations.

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