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Workshop: In Our Eyes with Shani Shih, Michelle Chen, and NAKASEC

September 9, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

New Project Studio artists Shani Shih and Michelle Chen present In Our Eyes, an interactive workshop series centered on the power of the arts to express identity, values, and personal/collective histories and visions. Artists will lead participants in reflection on the stories that shape who we are and who we are becoming, and guide participants in the use of visual language to tell stories.

For the second installment of this series, New Project Studio artists partner with VA grassroots organization NAKASEC for a special session for young adults. Participants will take part in an interactive painting/multimedia arts activity that explores individual and collective experiences of erasure and invisibility.

Sunday, September 9
3 pm – 4:30 pm
In partnership with National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)

The workshop is FREE but limited spaces are available.





The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) is a grassroots organization that works with Korean and Asian American communities to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. In Annandale and wider Fairfax county, NAKASEC works closely with community members who are low-income, undocumented, limited English proficient, recent immigrants, and youth, women and seniors. Their work and services are centered around immigrant rights, civic engagement, and parent/youth organizing.


About Shani Shih

Shani Shih is a multidisciplinary visual artist in Washington DC. Her personal artwork speaks at a visceral level; it features bold linework, gritty textures, and expressive human figures intertwined with harsh industrial structures, and represents everyday social and bodily experience in the stratified landscapes of the modern world. Through her creations, she aims to communicate a shared experience of suffering and endurance, as well as everlasting love and hope – providing comfort, strength, and acknowledgement to all.

Shani is also dedicated to supporting communities in need through public art, teaching and community arts, with a focus on serving underrepresented Asian Pacific American communities. During the 2016 primaries, Shani co-curated Bern the System!, a street art showcase that featured 70+ regional artists and uplifted messages of social change. She then served as a lead organizer for a four-city mural campaign centering the message of the indigenous-led Water is Life movement—which led to the 2017 founding of the 411 Collective, a graffiti/street art collective that supports local and national community advocacy initiatives with public art. In 2018, with the help of 1882 Foundation/Chinese American Citizens Alliance, she founded the Chinatown Art Studio, a youth art space servicing Asian Pacific American youth through multimedia art instruction and creative empowerment programming.



About Michelle Chen


Working primarily in acrylic, oil, and spray paint, Michelle Chen explores identity, belonging, and transformation with an eye to how these emerge from shared stories and symbols. She studied traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting as a young child growing up in Maryland, and later had the opportunity to begin her study of Arabic calligraphy while on a U.S. Department of State-sponsored exchange program in Egypt. Between 2013-2014, she assisted master artists in the creation of several works of public art as part of the Murals DC program, and recently painted her first independent mural in 2017. As a member of the Sanctuaries and former member of the 411 Collective, Michelle has worked to support social transformation through the arts. Michelle earned a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, where she studied Culture and Politics. Michelle lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area and is a 2018 New Project Studio Artist-in-Residence at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA.


About the New Project Studio

This community-focused arts incubator space inside the Torpedo Factory Art Center offers a short-term location to test new program ideas, spotlight underrepresented voices, and enhance community engagement. Projects will rotate on a regular basis and are considered based on the following goals:

  • Support new creative collaborations with neighboring organizations and partners
  • Strengthen the connection between our resident artists and the greater creative community
  • Provide opportunities for new audiences to engage with our building and artists
  • Inspire the next generation of artists, innovators, arts supporters, and diverse voices


Torpedo Factory Art Center

Contact Us

Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 N. Union St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Telephone: Please use the staff directory
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Modified Hours for COVID-19

Wednesday - Sunday10 am - 6 pm

Entrance and exit are via sliding doors on the Waterfront and Union Street only. No capacity limit, but masks are required for admittance and social distancing should be observed for the duration of the visit. Check Today’s Hours for expanded information.

Artists maintain their own studio hours. It's best to confirm availability before your visit.

Torpedo Factory Art Center is closed for New Year's Day, Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

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Torpedo Factory Art Center is part of the City of Alexandria Office of the Arts, a division of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities.