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New prize offered for study
of Asian American culture
February 9, 1998

The director of arts and humanities at the Rockefeller Foundation Tuesday urged students to approach the material in the new Fred Ho Collection at the Asian American Studies Institute thoughtfully.

"Might I suggest that as you analyze this material - think out of the box - approach it carefully," Mikki Shepard said. "I guarantee you there is more there than meets the eye."

Shepard's remarks at the Asian American Cultural Center marked the announcement of the Fred Ho Prize in Asian American History and Culture. The $500 prize will be awarded every other year to the undergraduate student with the most insightful scholarly essay based on the materials in the collection.

Applications for the prize must be completed by November 30, although final essays are not due until March 31, 1998.

The archive, which includes articles, poetry, music, reviews, speeches and commentaries written and collected by Ho, a Chinese-American baritone saxophonist, composer, writer, political activist, and leader of the Afro Asian Music Ensemble and The Journey Beyond the West Orchestra, is housed at the Asian American Studies Institute in Beach Hall.

Ho decided to donate the materials to UConn after visiting the University in fall 1996 at the invitation of the School of Fine Arts and the Asian American Studies Institut.

Considered one of the leading Asian American artistic talents, Ho has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and the 1988 Distinguished Artist Lifetime Achievement Award given by the 17th Annual Black Music Conference at the University of Massachusetts.

Shepard said Ho is a musician who incorporated other disciplines, such as dance and theater, into his work, before people spoke of performance art and "was a political activist having multicultural thoughts before the term was coined.

"Fred Ho is an artist who works at the edge - always searching for another way to make his artistic case," she said. "He has found a way to change his world by changing the American musical landscape - to develop a new American music that is anchored in the traditions of people of color in this society."

To view the Fred Ho collection or for more information about the essay contest, call (860) 486-4751.

Karen Grava Williams