Lana Yu

category: Literary, Visual,

Contact & Info


Phone: 914-313-7815


Artist Statement

"Art is a way to understand ourselves and the world we live in more deeply."  Lana Yu is a mixed-media painter and multidisciplinary artist who draws on her emotions and the physics of paint and materials to explore her relationship with herself, others and her environment.  After working as a graphic designer and creative director designing educational software and websites for almost twenty years, a life altering car accident put her life on a new path.  In search of a new home, the artist moved to Peekskill, New York in 2010 to be a part of an artist community.  She found herself looking out her studio window where she observed school kids walking home, seniors sitting outside and day laborers waiting for work.  She wanted to know the people she lived among.  In Peekskill, she discovered up-close what it is to live in a place of great diversity but also with social and economic challenges.  She wondered how art could transform a place and contribute to our understanding and appreciation of one another.  She began to get involved in public art projects with the community, including a mural about personal truth and a tree sculpture made of driftwood in honor of those affected by HIV.  In 2011, she conceived the What Matters project to give all people a voice in sharing larger views of life.  Her desire is to use art to engage all people in an act of personal self-expression, and not only those who consider themselves artists.  In doing so, we find ourselves and our connection to one another.  This project has brought together several thousand people in dozens of live events, installations, workshops and performances, over a six year period sharing responses to the question: What Matters?

Educational Background

  • BA in Design, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA); coursework at Parsons, School of Visual Arts, the Center for Book Arts and the American Film Institute.
Selected honors include a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to continue the What Matters project as multi-disciplinary expressions with the community from 2015 to 2017; an ArtsWestchester grant for the What Matters Mural in 2013, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in 2012 and a CLIO Award for best interactive game in 1999.

Teaching Artist Experience

Art Teacher, 1988 to present.  Facilitating self-expression in youths and adults in participatory public art projects, workshops, camp and private settings.
  • Making original art with the community as part of Maya Lin's environmental exhibit about the Hudson River. Created a "Recycled Fashion" workshop using recycled materials and fabrics. I also created an ongoing interactive installation where museum visitors were invited to create a large-scale 3D river with recycled materials. Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, Fall 2018
  • Art-making to live improvisation Jazz. Inspired by music and materials, created three original workshops over a two year period at the White Plains Public Library in NY that included costume making, abstract painting and collage. 2017-2019
  • What Matters Public Art Project: Facilitated the sharing of what matters with several thousand people of all ages from various cultures and backgrounds including over 500 youths.  Designed and coordinated the creation of a 28' x 10' mural with 88 people from the public.  The mural is a permanent installation in the Park St. Garage in Peekskill, NY.  The project continued with a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to support eight free workshops using words, movement, music and drama to express what matters. 2015-2017
  • Dual Recovery Support Group Arts Program: Introduced abstract drawing and mixed media as a form of personal discovery and expression in a supportive group environment.  Participants ranged from their 20's–60’s and are recovering from substance abuse while coming out of the criminal justice system.  June – July 2016.
  • Westchester Jewish Community Services: Created a seven-week art program for those living with chronic physical or mental challenges where art becomes a tool for expression, healing and support for one another. Together we created a tapestry of a tree made with paper, recycled materials, magazine clippings, paint and words of what matters.  It is on permanent display at the WJCS space in Peekskill to continue to inspire patients. 2015. Continued the program combining collage and decoupage in the following years through 2017
  • Painting Peekskill Bay: Led the creation of two unique, collaborative paintings celebrating Peekskill’s stunning waterfront.  One painting hangs in the city manager’s office at City Hall, while the other hangs at the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce celebrating the creativity of the community.  This activity was held at the water’s edge for all ages and levels at the first Hudson Valley Exposition Event, Riverfront Green Park.  Aug 1, 2015.
  • Teaching Artist Residency, ArtsWestchester
    Hostos Microsociety School, Yonkers, NY: Led 79 1st and 3rd grade students in a process of sharing what matters, combining environmental awareness and self-expression to create individual and group works of art from 100% recycled and sustainable materials.  Winter/Spring 2015.
    Saunders Trades and Technical School, Yonkers, NY: Worked with 200 high school students, grades 9-12, to create handbound journals that explore their inner and outer worlds.  Winter/Spring 2015.
    Saunders Trades and Technical School, Magnet Program, Yonkers, NY: Guided a team of twelve 10th graders to create a custom mural for their graphics classroom.  Led them through a deep creative process from concept to execution.  Winter/Spring 2015
  • Kiley Center Arts Project: Created a multi-disciplinary arts after-school program for at-risk youth at the Kiley Center and Hillcrest Elementary School in Peekskill, NY.  Collaborated with a team of performing and visual artists to create an innovative program for youth to express themselves and learn new skills to connect with others.  Children of all ages, elementary to middle school.  Fall 2014.
  • New Era Creative Space: Mask making workshop with drama and character development, week-long Spring Break Camp for kids ages 7-9 years old.  2013.
  • Mask of the Self, Culture Club: Engaged 35 kids, ages 7-18, in exploring their identity and unique spirit through the making of a personal mask.  Culture Club is a summer camp in Peekskill, NY which celebrates the exploration of diversity.  Summer 2012.
  • Find Your Truth Mural, Peekskill Banner Project: Led 20 youths, ages 4 to 16, in discussion, writing and art making culminating in a collaborative group mural about personal truth.  August 2011.
  • Private Art Teacher: Kids from the Chinese School Art Class enjoyed my art class enough to ask for private group and individual instruction in drawing and painting, ages four and up.  I facilitated young children to reach a high level of competency in observation and drawing skills.  1988 to 1992.
  • Art Camp Counselor/Instructor, Bruin Kids, UCLA: Four hours of art, five days a week, for kids 8 to 12.  Included instruction in printmaking, photography, architecture and mixed media art. Summer 1989.
See my students' work Download my resume Download my artist statement