Vongsay awarded $5,000 Jerome Foundation Travel and Study grant

The Jerome Foundation is delighted to announce the following awards made by the Board of Directors on March 4, 2018 through the Foundation’s Travel and Study program.  This year’s grants total $124,328, and support travel for artists and Minnesota administrators working in Dance, Film/Video/Digital Production and Literature. The funding includes generous additional support from the Art and Martha Kaemmer Fund of HRK Foundation for the Minnesota portion of the program. Saymoukda Vongsay, Minnesota, was awarded $5,000 to travel to Nong Khai, Thailand and Luang Prabang, Laos for 15 days. As an essential part of the refugee healing process, Vongsay will travel to Nongkhai, Thailand and Vientiane, Laos to retrace, reimagine, and record her family’s journey after the Secret War.

Vongsay had an EPIC 2017

Little Laos on the Prairie highlights Lao American accomplishments during 2017. Saymoukda had an especially epic year in terms of artistic accomplishments that included but not limited to: $78,000 in grants/fellowships for theater and poetry and a contract for her first children's poetry book!

Vongsay awarded Emerging Artist Grant

For their Emerging Artist Project, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay will follow the lives of Laotian families who have escaped communist Laos and are awaiting resettlement approvals in Saint Paul, MN to create a musical told from these survivors’ perspectives. The musical, “IN THE CAMPS: A REFUGEE MUSICAL,” will be told through traditional folktales and songs informed by 70s-80s Lao, Thai, and American pop and will explores trauma and healing, while simultaneously interrogating U.S. policy. Two staged readings of IN THE CAMPS will be presented to the public.

Smithsonian presents Kung Fu Zombies



Imagine a post-apocalyptic Laos teeming with zombies that somehow know kung fu. Mix in the Lao community's perception of mental illness as demonic possession and you have the new play KUNG FU ZOMBIES VS SHAMAN WARRIOR, which follows a young woman's battles with personal and supernatural demons.


Playwright Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay and artist Matt Huynh collaborate to adapt the play into a multimedia performance for CTRL+ALT, with a staged reading coordinated with a running animation projection.


KFZSW was presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center as part of the CTRL+ALT: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures migratory exhibition in New York, November 2016.


Articles and Reflections on the CTRL+ALT exhibition:

Vongsay exhibits at the Smallest Museum

Saymoukda's first installation, "Ahan on Spoons: Poems on a Refugee's Forgiveness," pairs verse with photographs from her years as a child in a refugee camp of Nongkhai, Thailand. The photographs are pasted onto soup spoons; both spoons and verse are arranged in a circle as though around a bowl of soup, and displayed with a blue dress that Saymoukda's mother has owned for over thirty years. 

Twin Cities PBS features Vongsay


Saymoukda Vongsay was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. Her poem “When Everything Was Everything” describes the cultural whirlwind of growing up as a Lao immigrant in the Twin Cities. Vongsay read from this poem as part of the 2015 Twin Cities PBS production “Giving Thanks in Many Voices.” Vongsay is the 2010 winner of the Alfred Carey Prize in Spoken Word Poetry.


A working list of VONGSAY in the news:


  • 2018 Travel and Study Grantees Announced, Jerome Foundation, May 4, 2018

  • Artivism and Expression: An interview with Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, Somnouk Silosoth, Little Laos on the Prairie, November 26, 2015

  • A Q&A with the Hmong-Lao Friendship Team OR the Lao-Hmong Friendship Team, Bryan Thao Worra, Asian American Press, October 22, 2015


  • Twin Cities Celebrates World Refugee Day Saturday, Sheila Regan, City Pages, June 18, 2015

  • Anything But English Offers Multilingual Performances at Patrick’s Cabaret, Sheila Regan, City Pages, May 28, 2015

  • Lao Writer Saymoukda Vongsay to appear at Equilibrium Supershow during AWP: April 10th, 2015, Laotian American Writers Society, February 17, 2015

  • Saymoukda Vongsay featured in 1-Minute Theater Festival, Laotian American Writers Society, February 12, 2015

  • January Artist Spotlight: Gifted Writer & Storyteller, Saymoukda Vongsay, COMPAS Newsroom, January 15, 2015

  • #BeLaod: Saymoukda Vongsay the Baci Baby, Chanida Phaengdara-Potter, Little Laos on the Prairie, December 4, 2014

  • NET/TEN Shareback: Teada Productions & Pangea World Theater - Ways to Engage with Refugee and Immigrant Populations, Park Cofield, Network of Ensemble Theaters, May 27, 2014

  • Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay kicks of National Poetry Month in MN, Bryan Thao Worra, On The Other Side of the Eye, April 1, 2014

  • Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay presents in Minnesota at the start of National Poetry Month, Bryan Thao Worra, Laotian American Writers Society, March 31, 2014

  • Eat, Flay, Love, Amelie Champagne Lyons, American Theatre Magazine, October 2013

  • Nothing Personal: They Want to Eat You, Erik Piepenburg, The New York Times, October 26, 2013

  • Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay Fights Zombies, Amy Doeun, Hmong Times, October 25, 2013

  • Kung Fu Zombies Vs. Cannibals is Monstrously Good!, Lisa Steinmann, Saint Paul Almanac, October 22, 2013

  • Apocalypse Lao: Mu’s Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals wages an epic end-of-times battle, Lisa Brock, Star Tribune, October 18, 2013

  • Mu Performing Arts opens the season with “Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals,” Susannah Schouweiler, Knights Arts of the Knight Foundation, October 16, 2013

  • The reviews are in for Mu’s “Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals,” Marianne Combs, MPR News, October 15, 2013

  • Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals at Mu Performing Arts, Dominic Orlando, How Was The Show, October 15, 2013

  • Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals: Everybody was…you know, Ed Huyck, City Pages, October 15, 2013

  • Review: Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals is a play Lao Americans shouldn’t miss, Bryan Thao Worra, Little Laos on the Prairie, October 15, 2013

  • Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals Delivers as Promised, Rob Callahan, Vita.MN, October 14, 2013

  • Review: Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals does best when it embraces its campiness, Sheila Regan, Twin Cities Daily Planet, October 14, 2013

  • A thoughtful, high-energy piece applying Buddhist tenets to a zombie-filled fantasy, Kongchog Norbu, Lion’s Roar, October 11, 2013

  • A heartwarming tale of zombies and cannibals, Emily Eveland, MN Daily, October 10, 2013

  • Skip "Miss Saigon," see Mu Performing Arts' "Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals," Amina Harper, Twin Cities Daily, October 8, 2013

  • Reflections of New Minnesotans: Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals, Julia Opoti, on AM950, September 23, 2013

  • Interview with a 'Phi' playwright, Chanida Potter, Twin Cities Daily Planet, September 20, 2013

  • No regrets, connecting voice and success: An Interview with Saymoukda Vongsay, K. Kouanchao, Twin Cities Daily Planet, April 29, 2013

  • A line or two: Saymoukda Vongsay's "When Poets Found Bass," Jon Spayde, The Line Media, February 20, 2013

  • Lao writer joins Intermedia Arts, Asian Pacific Endowment boards, Bryan Thao Worra, Twin Cities Daily Planet, February 20, 2012

  • Saymoukda Vongsay a 2011 Changemaker, Laotian American Writers Society, November 10, 2011

  • Sulu Spotlight: The Last Sulu Series, New York City, sim1ontharun, Lantern Review Blog, October 26, 2010

  • Saymoukda Vongsay does the East Coast, Laotian American Writers Society, September 7, 2010

  • First National Lao Writers Summit, Thomas LaVenture, Asian American Press, August 20, 2010

  • Saymoukda Vongsay receives spoken word award, Thomas LaVenture, Asian American Press, August 14, 2010

  • Saymoukda Vongsay receives Alfred C. Carey Award, Laotian American Writers Society, August 1, 2010

  • Saymoukda Vongsay brings OPERATION GYNOCRACY 7/28, Laotian American Writers Society, July 14, 2010

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