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A Letter from Jane Wong

Jane Wong

2017 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award Recipient

Photo: Helene Christensen

Dear Artist Trust Supporter,

When I learned I was the recipient of the 2017 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award – the largest grant available for Washington State artists – I immediately thought of my mother and began to cry. She worked the night shift at the U.S. Postal Service for over a decade and at our Chinese restaurant before that, raising me as a single mother all the while. The support I received from Artist Trust is as much for her as it is for me and my creative work.

While I spent most of my career as a poet, I have been wildly excited to write prose. Thanks to Artist Trust’s support during this time of genre experimentation, I now have the tools I need to complete two new manuscripts this year, focusing on stories of my family during China’s Great Leap Forward and my experience growing up in a low-income immigrant family on the Jersey shore. Even more than that, this support makes me feel seen, and that my writing and the voices of my family truly impact readers in Washington State.

Recently, someone asked me why poetry matters, why writing matters, why art matters. Art matters because it reminds us to feel. In a time when there is so much terror in the world, poetry reminds me that language is a means to reclaim our stories, our lineages, our history. Artist Trust has been incredible in its support of marginalized artists. I am proud to be a woman of color and a Chinese American daughter, poet, writer, and dreamer.

Your gift to Artist Trust means supporting artists who make our communities vibrant and hopeful. I hope that you can continue to support the work of our Washington State artists; and as a result, we can all dream and fight for a more sustainable, more human future.

Sincerely,

Jane Wong

PS—Thanks to donors like you, Artist Trust granted over $350,000 to Washington artists last year, and supported thousands more through programming and workshops. I’m excited to share these opportunities to give in support of a sustainable future for artists like me!

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About the artist:
Jane Wong is a poet, essayist, and the recipient of the 2017 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award. Her first book of poems, Overpour, was published in 2016. Jane is an assistant professor at Western Washington University, and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, among other national distinctions.