Staff Spotlight: Patrick Kang, Programs Manager

Arts Corps is so excited to welcome our newest staff member, Patrick Kang!

Patrick is joining Arts Corps as Program Manager, working on our Art 4 Life and Interagency programming.

Patrick grew up in Southern California and holds degrees in English and American Studies. He comes to Arts Corps with a passion for programming, initiatives, and movements designed for young people, particularly those driven for and by the community. Previous work includes promoting educational equity and building power within local youth leaders. Informed by personal experiences – challenging fears on stage as a shy adolescent/young adult, forming bonds through arts & crafts events, and connecting with family history through studying performance – he has a deep appreciation for the capacity of the arts to promote community, reflection, creative expression, and healing. In his spare time, Patrick likes to swim, eat anything with chocolate in it, and learn new ideas and skills.

What is something you are looking forward to, working at Arts Corps?  

There’s honestly so much I am looking forward to! If I had to focus on just one element, I am really excited to participate in Arts Corps’ 20+ year praxis of social justice and youth empowerment through arts education. Even in the short amount of time since starting, I have already been witness to young people actively and collectively exploring visions of the self, community, and life through Arts Corps programming. Shout out to faculty members Arielle, Sorel, and Adam for letting me visit their Art 4 Life Digital Art Internship and for facilitating such a beautiful space for creativity, expression, and compassionate reciprocity.

In his first few week with us, we got to ask him some questions that let us know him a little bit better. 

Was arts education critical to your development as a young person?  

Absolutely! I was very fortunate to have multiple arts-based classes and after school programs growing up. This included music, studio arts, and, my personal favorite, stained glass. Although these opportunities were more focused on teaching techniques fairly rigidly, being able to even partake fostered my passion for the arts. Then in college (and beyond), I was able to step outside the confines of prescribed methods and allow that passion to become an exploration. My forays into new modalities, including digital arts and photography, were framed less as doing something “the traditional way” and more on growing, testing, trying, failing, practicing. The creative process was synonymous with creating community, building confidence, and reflecting.  

What opportunities and challenges do you see ahead for those of us who care deeply about art, young people, and community? 

This might be a typical answer, but I feel like issues surrounding equitable and inclusive access to the arts will persist. Cuts to arts programs continue to challenge the already limited resources and the tumultuous outlook for the future does not suggest an immediate resolution. At the same time, artists across disciplines have historically been able to adapt to vicissitudes and, in turn, set the stage for a critical re-evaluation of the contemporary social constitution. This pattern unfolded during the pandemic, where arts organizations like Arts Corps not only continued to provide arts access, but also created the conditions of possibilities for new rearrangements and imaginings of community. I have confidence this will continue to be the case, whatever challenges, headwinds, and obstacles may come to bear. 

Welcome to the Arts Corps fam, Patrick!

— GRECIA LEAL PARDO, Development & Communications Coordinator