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Lauren Ito is an American Gosei (fifth generation Japanese American) poet, community craftswoman, artist, and organizer committed to advancing equity through art and design.
As an artist and organizer Lauren delves into the tensions inherited within diasporic experiences, including explorations of American concentration camps, identity, and home. Lauren’s work has been featured by The Seattle Times, Japanese American National Museum, The City is Already Speaking Anthology, and various performance venues, such as the Mission Arts Performance Project, BEAT Museum, and Gears Turning. Her latest project was a collaboration with San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck to curate an intergenerational poetry event featuring Bay Area artists of Japanese ancestry.
Throughout her career, Lauren has worked internationally with non-profits and community-based organizations tackling issues such as civil rights, hate crimes, women’s health, indigenous rights, and malnutrition. As a community designer at IDEO, Lauren crafts communities with intention and supports local leaders enact positive social change through open innovation. Her community design skills have supported topics that span circular design, reimagining maternal health, expanding racial representation in early childhood literature, and the future of mobility in cities, to name a few.
Lauren’s approach to both art and design provokes the question:
How might we create the conditions in which people feel understood in a language of their choosing?
She currently lives in San Francisco and can almost always be found by the sea.