About Esther Y. Kang
b. 1986 Detroit, MI
I grew up with parents who instilled the importance of two things: understanding the full context of a given situation and having an empathetic approach to relationships. The aforementioned became integral pillars in life encouraging me to ask a lot of questions, take initiative, and imagine myself in circumstances other than my own. This spirit developed throughout my formative years in the U.S.—the midwest, the south, and along the west coast.
Each location fostered a position that deeply values authenticity, curiosity, and integrity. All of which inform my work and process. I am committed to building social equity, designing inclusive infrastructures, and advocating for the application of intersectional pedagogies.
I am currently a freelance strategist and researcher partnering with teams across the country to confront and address complex social issues, together. Recent collaborators include Bloomberg Philanthropies' Results for America, The OpenGov Foundation, and AARP. Previously, I was the inaugural Designer-in-Residence at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) under the Obama Administration while concurrently receiving an M.A. in Social Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).
I have experience in philanthropy, public administration, and arts management, and have developed community-centric programs in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
In my spare time, I eat local cuisine, skateboard through the park, refine my chess playing strategies, read varieties of creative nonfiction, check out up-and-coming musicians & stand-up comedians, or plan day trips to small coastal towns. I also capture imagery through my photography, which can be viewed here.
Organizational & systems design
Concept design, development, & implementation
Workshop design & facilitation
Coaching & teaching
Durban, South Africa & Perth, Western Australia
Youth With A Mission '04 - '05
Assist runaway youth and HIV+ teens find appropriate healthcare, shelter, and treatment
Maryland Institute College of Art
M.A. Social Design '16
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
B.F.A. Photography & New Media '10