Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Small Numbers / Big City: Innovative Presentations of Pacific Islander Art and Culture in Pheonix, Arizona


This resource paper provides an overview of how the small but growing Pacific Islander and Asian American community in Phoenix has sustained, developed, and preserved its culture and art in the absence of a permanent AAPI art or cultural museum. This article gives examples of such alternative formats and includes details on dance, music, and other folk cultural practices. Metropolitan statistical areas with AAPI populations comparable to Phoenix include Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Dallas. Phoenix community groups use small, temporary displays at annual AAPI cultural festivals. One approach is a ?museum on wheels? ? a used tour bus filled with certified reproductions of artifacts on loan from the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Native Hawaiians also collaborate with the more numerous Native American organizations that can provide venues for indigenous arts. Universities and state humanities councils are frequent sources of funding for AAPI artists. MSAs with Pacific Islander populations most comparable to Phoenix (in the range of 10,000 to 15,000) are the U.S. Southwestern cities of Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Pacific Islanders in these cities might be most likely to employ display formats and strategies similar to those used in Phoenix.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View