Kristina Wong ’00

Posted On - March 9, 2023

Kristina Wong ’00Kristina Wong ’00 is the recipient of the 2023 UCLA Award for Community Service for her leadership, activism and advocacy.

Wong’s internationally acclaimed work illuminates political and social topics, usually with a dose of humor, to address ideas beyond the headlines. She is currently working on a project about marginalized communities’ access to healthy food as the artist-in-residence at Arizona State University (ASU) Gammage. She is also the Kennedy Center Social Practice Resident, engaging communities in debate to inspire social change.

During the early days of the COVID pandemic, Wong founded the Auntie Sewing Squad, a national mutual aid network of 800 volunteers, including “Uncles” and non-binary volunteers, who sewed and distributed 400,000 cloth masks to vulnerable communities. She became the first Asian American Woman finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her award-winning play about these experiences, “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord.”

Wong discovered her love of the theater in a performance art class at UCLA. She graduated with double degrees in English and world arts and cultures, with a minor in Asian American studies. She returned as a commencement speaker for the UCLA English Department in 2008 and spoke at UCLA's student-initiated Asian Pacific Islander graduation in 2014. She has used theater to inspire young workers at the UCLA Labor Center.

An nine-time recipient of the Artist-in-Residence Award from the City of Los Angeles, Wong has used the theater to rally others to meet community needs. Her performance, “Kristina Wong for Public Office,” was based on her experience as a Koreatown neighborhood council member and the impact citizens can have on democracy.

Wong is a Doris Duke Artist Award winner and has appeared on NBC, Comedy Central, American Public Media’s Marketplace, PBS and CNN. Her work has been awarded with support from Creative Capital, Center Theatre Group’s Sherwood Award, the Art Matters Foundation, and a COLA Master Artist Fellowship from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Wong is building community through her award-winning work that seeks to represent experiences outside the mainstream, opening dialogue and making space for conversation.

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