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Erin Shigaki was born and raised in Seattle, WA, where she recently returned after many years on the east coast, studying and working in design and art education. Her homecoming has paved a path for public art commissions and grants to create work that is community based and focused on the experiences of communities of color, often the World War II incarceration of her community. Erin is passionate about highlighting similarities between that history, the inhumane detention and family separation immigrants face today, and other systemic violence and injustices Black, Indigenous and people of color continue to face. She is keen to explore intergenerational trauma and the emergence of beauty and intimacy despite harsh circumstances. Erin’s work also examines the act of reclamation: of land, language and culture. She believes that using art to tell stories about these moments can educate, redress wrongs, and incrementally heal.

Erin is a community activist, and helps run an annual pilgrimage to Minidoka, the American concentration camp where her family was incarcerated. She is also a part of Tsuru for Solidarity, a nonviolent, direct action project of Japanese American social justice advocates working to end detention and incarceration for all. She also serves on the board of Look Listen + Learn, a public access television show that inspires and advances early learning in young children of color. All of this work is fundamental to her artistic practice.

In service of this work, Erin is the recipient of grants and commissions from the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, Densho, the Wing Luke Museum, the Pacific Bonsai Museum, the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Grant, and the National Academy of Design’s Abbey Mural Prize, among others. She is a graphic designer and illustrator by trade and also engages in art education.

Erin holds a B.A. from Yale University and completed additional design and art study at American University and in Brissago, Switzerland, among others.



Exhibitions / Installations / Awards

2022 The Wing Luke Museum, Lunar New Year Mural, Seattle, WA

2021 Japanese American Heritage & NE 8th St Bridge mural (w/ collaborator Mari Shibuya) Bellevue, WA

2021 National Academy of Design, Abbey Mural Prize for a mural at the JCCCW (w/ collaborator Kenji Hamai Stoll), New York, NY

2021 4Culture Heritage Projects Grant (w/ collaborator Juliana Kang Robinson), Seattle, WA

2021 Seattle Office of Arts & Culture / Seattle City Light / YouthCare Mural Mentorship program, Seattle, WA

2021 Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic / Seattle Children’s Hospital invited muralist, Seattle, WA

2021 The Kintsugi Spirit, selected artist, Los Angeles, CA

2021 UDistrict Partnership Mural Program, Respect Beloved Community permanent mural, Seattle, WA

2021 Edmonds College Winter Art Gallery and guest speaker (with collaborator Scott Méxcal), Edmonds, WA

2021 ArtsWA Public Art Public Artist Roster

2021 Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Emerging Artist Roster

2021 Caldera Arts, Artist in Residence, Sisters, OR

2021 KODA Building, We, the Ancestors permanent public art, Seattle, WA

2020 Selected Artist, Art Interruptions, City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture

2020 Selected Grantee, Kip Tokuda Civil Liberties Award

2020 The International Examiner Community Voice Excellence in Art Award

2020 Invited Artist, James and Janie Washington Jr. Foundation, Artist in Residence, Seattle, WA

2020 Commissioned Artist, Bellevue College Day of Remembrance / Never Again is Now mural, Bellevue, WA

2020 Selected Artist, LA Metro 2020 Artist Pool

2020 Together, We Are Resilient Campaign, Wing Luke Museum

2019 Invited Artist, Envisioning a Brighter Future group show, The Ethnic Heritage Gallery, Seattle, WA (October)

2019 Invited Artist, Bellwether group show, Bellevue, WA

2019 Selected Artist, Office of Arts and Culture/Seattle Parks and Rec., Arts in Parks temporary public art installment: CENTRAL

2019 Commissioned Artist, Chiyo’s Garden, Guardians of the Garden wheat paste mural, Seattle, WA

2019 Commissioned Artist, Nisei Veterans Committee, Issei & Nisei monument, Seattle, WA

2019 Invited Artist, Artists UP group show at Cornish Playhouse, Seattle, WA

2019 Commissioned Artist, Friends of Nihonmachi, Day of Remembrance wheat paste mural, Seattle, WA

2019 Selected Artist, HerFlag project, representing Washington State, traveling nationally

2018 Selected Artist and Educator, Beacon Development/El Centro de la Raza, interior mural

2018-2019 Selected Artist, Urban Parks Art public art grant for installation at both Occidental Square and Westlake Park, Seattle, WA

2018 Artist in Residence, Densho, Never Again is Now wheat paste mural, Seattle, WA.

2018 Contracted Artist and Educator, The Culture Mural Project at Vulcan, Inc. / Jackson Apartments site 23rd & Jackson Streets, Seattle, WA

2018 Japanese Cultural Community Center of Washington, Genji Mihara: An Issei Pioneer exhibit, Seattle, WA

2018 Group fine art show: Basic Ingredients, The Lakeshore, Seattle, WA

2018 Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), Wing Luke Museum and Friends of Japantown, Nihonmachi Alley installation, Seattle, WA

2018 Selected Artist, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture’s Public Art Boot Camp Training

2018 Selected Artist, City of Seattle Ethnic Artist Roster

2017 Group fine art show: What Would Betsy Ross Do? ArtXchange Gallery, Reactions, resistance and the collective use of taking charge of one’s viewpoint through art through the redesign of the American flag, Seattle, WA

2017 Wing Luke Museum, Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner / Poetry & Artwork Inspired by Japanese American Experiences, Poems by Lawrence Matsuda, Artwork by Roger Shimomura exhibit, Seattle, WA

2017 Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda) and Wing Luke Museum, Jackson Building Storefront, Seattle, WA

2016 Wing Luke Museum, Seeds of Change, Roots of Power: The Danny Woo Community Garden exhibit, Seattle, WA

2016 Group fine art show: More Than Mundane, University House, Issaquah, WA

2014 Nisei Veterans Club, Permanent exhibition design throughout four rooms in the building (also designed traveling version), Seattle, WA

2011 Wing Luke Museum, Meet Me at Higo: An Enduring Story of a Japanese American Family exhibit (also designed traveling version and smaller version for the Kobo at Higo shop interior), Seattle, WA

2008 Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Permanent exhibition design (Chinatown-International District, Wing Chong Luke, Historic Hotel immersion space), Seattle, WA