• White Instagram Icon

to learn more about activists and artists to follow

Subscribe to our mailing list

for all ticket releases and new exhibition information

Site Credits

Photography: Stacey Salter Moore, Briana Balducci, Joseph Magnelli, David Chow

Videography: Federica Nanfeng, Sarah M. Park

Structure: Aaron Tiang, Anna Ong

© 2019 by Studio ATAO, Inc. A 501(c)3 nonprofit



The Studio’s newest venture is a community-based professional conversation and learning series we’ve named “Experimental Salons”. These will be starting up in early 2020, and we are hard at work thinking through how best to build these events from the ground-up so each event, every space are environments our guests are willing (and eager!) to dive into some of life’s grittiest and most complicated moments.


Experimental Salons are intimate (6-10 people), semi-led discussions tailored for professionals committed to social impact, self-improvement and collective action. We are looking for people across all fields who are champions of equity and a better world — from writers, filmmakers and data scientists to corporate DEI professionals and NGO strategists — who want to hunker down for two hours in a cozy space, openly talk through a pressing problem in their industry and work together to find solutions both big and small.


The final step of the evening is a promise towards moving the needle forward individually, breaking down our goals into takeaways that can be implemented immediately in our personal, professional and community lives. We aim for these salons to be both powerful and discomforting for the people who join them, so we can all contribute to developing manageable, actionable solutions for dilemmas that often feel insurmountable.


What will be the structure of these salons?

Our current plan is to segment these Experimental Salons into 2 ‘styles’: 1 based in intra-industry discussion, 1 semi-led by an expert in the field. (Of course, the whole nature of this series is experimental, as its name implies, so things are apt to change!)


For discussion-based salons, we’ll develop the conversation by first dissecting the “why” in our posted question, and refining what we believe to be the main drivers of this problem. We’ll come with case studies to share, and talk through what we believe could have been done better in that scenario, what we would want our future selves to do in similar scenarios, and identify teaching moments (for ourselves and others) and workshop ways we can shift future conversations in other rooms to better align with our collective goals.


For expert-led salons, we’ll bring in 1 expert in the field to explain the major findings of their work, then diving into a group to analyze how each of us can better implement these learnings.


How much are they?

We are committed to making these events under $25.


Where will you be?

We’d love to bring salons across the country. Since we’re based in LA and NYC, that’s where we’ll start first!

discussion topics

For Q1 2020, we’re thinking of starting close to our home base of food and identity with a series geared towards food media and equal representation. Some action-oriented questions could be:

  • [Discussion] How Can Food Media Better Present Non-White Cultures Without Tokenizing Them?

  • [Discussion or Expert Led] Balancing Branded and Reported: How Can Writers and Marketers Better Work Together to Safeguard Journalism?

  • [Expert Led] Food Linguistics for Food Writers: What is Lost in Translation?


From our fascinating observations of touring Asian in America across the U.S. these last 2 years, we’re also invested in opening up a series specifically for the API community and the many layers of . Questions within that realm could be:

  • [Discussion] What Are the Structures of Whiteness the API Community Ascribes To, How Do We Recognize and Change Them?

  • [Discussion or Expert Led] How Can We Better Combat Anti-Blackness in API Communities?

  • [Expert Led] The Ripple Effect of China’s Emerging Global Dominance: Learning to Navigate a Different World


Being (somewhat) new to LA, we’ve also been very intrigued by the wellness industry, and who wellness is for (and who wellness currently represents) — so that’s a whole new world we want to explore within these salons as well.

What topics appeal most to you? What industry are you in, and would want to bring our Salon formats into? We want to hear what you care about! Email us at hello@studioatao.org with your ideas, and let's make it happen!

join us

We'll be releasing our full calendar of 2020 Experimental Salons via our newsletter below. We will be starting in Los Angeles and New York City first, and hopefully expanding nimbly to many more cities beyond that! If there are special topics you definitely want to be part of, give us a shout at hello@studioatao.org so we can get it on your calendar well in advance!

community partners

We are actively looking for community organizations we can work together to make sure our Salon topics accurately reflect the issues facing different industries today. We are cognizant of our own limitations, and know we need the guidance and partnership of other like-minded people and businesses to curate, moderate and drive the thoughtful conversations we hope will become the staple of our Salons. 

If you're interested in working with us on a series of Salons pertinent to your industry -- be it rebalancing opportunity in the emerging cannabis boom or dissecting ableism in architecture -- we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to us at hello@studioatao.org.