Center for Hmong Studies

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Center for Hmong Studies
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Start Date
July 2020
End Date
August 2021
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Overview

The Center for Hmong Studies is seeking a $20,000 grant form the Hmong Cultural Grant program to acquire the Jason Schoonover Collection, to provide stipend for students to digitize and catalog the collection, and to organize a Hmong Textile exhibit to show the collection.

Competitive Grant Making Body
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications

Kee Vang (St Paul, MN) Kee was a part of the Truth and Transformation conference/work with MHC, and is also serving on the immigrant cultural heritage panel. He is Hmong.

Tori Hong (Minneapolis, MN) Tori Hong is a Hmong and Korean illustrator, facilitator, and consultant. She was recommended by a Hmong artist/individual that knows MHC’s work well.

Kabo Yang (Little Canada, MN) Kabo Yang has been a panelist with MHC for prior grants. Her work focuses on identity-driven leadership, culturally-affirming nonprofit management and inclusion initiatives.

Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Conflict of Interest Contact

Laura Benson

Minnesota Humanities Center


Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minn. State Legislature Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 8, (d)
Appropriation Language

$850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are for a competitive grants program to provide grants to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Minnesota.

(1) Of this amount, $250,000 the first year is for a grant to one or more community organizations that provide arts and cultural heritage programming celebrating Hmong heritage.

2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Direct expenses
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)
  1. The completed acquisition of the Jason Schoonover Collection
  2. The completed digitization and cataloging of the Jason Schoonover Collection
  3. The complete installation of the Hmong Textiles and Arts Exhibit
Measurable Outcome(s)

Due to the pandemic, we have decided to launch an online 3D exhibit via the web platform. They are divided into two exhibits, the second primarily focuses not only on textiles but tools as well. The webpages are below:

The exhibit web link was posted via the Center for Hmong Studies' Facebook page as well as on several other Facebook pages frequent by Hmong as well as non-Hmong with interest in the Hmong community. We also posted it on the Center for Hmong Studies webpage at Mr. Jason Schoonover also posted the weblinks to his page as well as send it to his email networks.


The response was overwhelming. Here are some of the comments after viewing the exhibit:

  • Very complex embroidery design. it is extraordinary!
  • They bring back lots of memories.
  • We don't get to see those original baby carriers anymore.
  • That's amazing! I'm glad we have collectors who have held on to relics to share with the public. Hope to see these in the future when I visit the center.
  • Wow! So many unique designs!!
  • Very nice!! I would like to see larger versions!
  • Wonderful!!!


Some of the textiles was borrowed by ArtReach St. Croix in Stillwater, Minnesota for an exhibit that started in May 2021 and ended the first week of July 2021.


Since we were not able to do a physical exhibit and opted for a hybrid exhibit model due to the pandemic, we were able to realize some cost savings. As such, we decided to acquire six large paintings by Minnesota artist Jackie Yang. The paintings are historically significant because it depicted the Hmong-Minnesotan's role in partnering with the United States during the Secret War of Laos in saving American lives. These paintings were on loan to the Center for Hmong Studies, but we were able to negotiate a reasonable price for the acquisition of them.

Recipient Board Members
Dr. Zha Blong Xiong, Dr. Yang Dao, Dr. Chia Youyee Vang, Dr. Kou Yang, Paul Herr, William Yang, William MacArthur, Marvin Suomi, Carol Byrne, George Latimar, Rev. Dr. Robert Holst
Project Manager
First Name
Lee Pao
Last Name
Organization Name
Center for Hmong Studies
Administered By
Administered by

987 Ivy Avenue East
St. Paul, MN 55106

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