Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association

Founded in 1991 by a group of Vietnamese American journalists, artists, and friends, the Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association is a community-based, nonprofit organization.  VAALA has organized numerous cultural events such as art exhibitions, book fairs, book signings, recitals, plays, lectures, the biennial Vietnamese International Film Festival, the annual Children’s Moon Festival Art Contest, and year-long art and music classes.  VAALA also developed the smART Program, which offers free art workshops for nonprofit youth organizations in the Orange County and Los Angeles area.  VAALA’s mission is to connect and enrich communities through Vietnamese art and culture.

In 2013, a grant from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program will support weekly instruction in hat boi, an opera style from Vietnam.  The community-based troupe is being trained by master artist Duong Ngoc for public performances and to assure transmission of this multi-dimensional form to Vietnamese-Americans.  Concurrently, an audio-visual website that documents the history, basic elements (movements, dances, costume, make-up, staging and props) of hat boi is being constructed and will make available online video documentation of performance and workshops.