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Velina Hasu Houston, Pasadena Playhouse to boost arts connections

USC’s director of dramatic writing will explore ways to establish ties with San Gabriel Valley theatergoers

Velina Hasu Houston
Velina Hasu Houston has been honored by the Kennedy Center and the American Film Institute. (Photo/Ken Matsui)

Professor Velina Hasu Houston, resident playwright at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, has been awarded an exploration grant through the Doris Duke Building Demand for the Arts program.

The grant supports arts artists and organizations in joint efforts to develop audience demand for jazz, theater and/or contemporary dance. It was given to Houston and The Pasadena Playhouse to explore ways to broaden the theater’s ties with Asians and Pacific Islanders in the San Gabriel Valley. Seventeen teams of performing artists and arts organizations also received the grant.

Houston’s work has been performed around the world. She is a poet, screenwriter, lyricist and novelist who has been honored by The Kennedy Center, the American Film Institute, the LA Stage Alliance and other organizations.

She has written for the Los Angeles Times, American Theatre, The Rafu Shimpo, Pacific Citizen and the Kansas City Star as well as independent producers. She co-produced Desert Dreamers, a documentary set in the Mojave Desert, and served as a consultant for Kiki’s Delivery Service, Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film about a Japanese teenager.

Houston served on the U.S. Department of State’s U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the Japan-U.S. Bridging Foundation. Her works are archived in the Library of Congress and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

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Velina Hasu Houston, Pasadena Playhouse to boost arts connections

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