Exploring Cultural Identity through the Arts

By Holly Zahn | August 14, 2014

As 2013-14 IA/JGS Fellows, ten publicly engaged students of photography and digital media participated in a yearlong working group. Each month, the Fellows convened virtually to delve into topics related to their artistic practice, academic experience, and civic life. In this first Imagining America Vlog Chat, we asked two of this year’s outgoing Fellows, Edgar Reyes and Ngoc-Tran Vu, to interview each other about the experiences that motivate and inform their work.

Edgar Reyes


Edgar Reyes grew up outside Washington, DC, after immigrating to the United States from Mexico in his youth. At the Baltimore United Viewfinders, Reyes combines his passion for working with young people with his interests in photography, design, and engaged arts to bridge cultural disparities in Baltimore. Reyes recently graduated with his MFA in Community Arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Ngoc-Tran Vu


Ngoc-Tran Vu was born in Vietnam and grew up in the urban neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts.  She identifies as an artist and organizer, and works with the Southeast Asian diasporic communities. After obtaining her undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies and Visual Arts at Brown University, she pursued her Master of Arts in Arts Politics at NYU.  Tran’s practice is rooted in community-based collaborations and it encompasses documentation and the intersections of identity, culture and activism.