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AMOCAT Arts Awards

Recognizing those who positively impact the community with their passion, innovation, and commitment to the arts

AMOCAT Arts Award recipients are nominated by the public. The Tacoma Arts Commission selects one finalist in each award category based on the breadth and depth of the nominee’s community impact as well as the quality of work being done by the nominee.

There are three categories for recognition:

    • Community Outreach by an Individual
    • Community Outreach by an Organization
    • Arts Patron

2023 AMOCAT Arts Awards Recipients
Community Outreach by an Individual
Reid Ozaki and Kristina Batiste

The Tacoma Pottery Salon is a monthly art gathering that serves as a platform for potters to connect, share their work, and foster a sense of community. It was born out of a desire to preserve the values of “shokunin,” a Japanese term that represents not just craftsmanship but also a commitment to social consciousness, honoring traditions, and passing on knowledge. The concept of the Tacoma Pottery Salon arose from the closure of significant pottery hubs in the Pacific Northwest, leading to a lack of spaces for potters to gather and exchange ideas. As the pottery world shifted toward online learning and private studios, the opportunity for informal, face-to-face interactions and intergenerational connections began to fade.

Reid Ozaki, a seasoned potter with 50 years of experience, and Kristina Batiste, a passionate advocate for pottery education, joined forces to create a solution. They envisioned a series of six events held in a welcoming, informal setting, offering socialization, show-and-tell sessions, retrospectives from guest potters, and, of course, snacks. Their aim was to keep it free, open, diverse, and educational.

The salon’s debut featured Loren Lukens, who shared stories from his lifelong journey in pottery, providing insights into the challenges, successes, and evolution of his craft. The salon continued to host a remarkable lineup of guest potters, thanks to Reid’s extensive connections in the pottery community. The events also introduced a creative game called “Potle,” akin to Wordle, which allowed the audience to guess the identity of a mystery potter based on their work, fostering a deeper understanding of pottery through a visual perspective.

The Tacoma Pottery Salon has succeeded in its mission to build a community, provide educational opportunities, and preserve the history of pottery. It has created a space where potters of all backgrounds and experiences can come together, exchange ideas, and celebrate the diversity of the craft. Feedback from attendees reflects the positive impact of the salon, with participants appreciating the chance to connect, learn, and expand their pottery horizons. The salon’s success has grown, attracting more participants and guest potters, which presents a new challenge of maintaining its intimate atmosphere while meeting the increasing demand. Kristina Batiste was awarded funding to support the 2023-2024 season through the Tacoma Arts Commission’s Tacoma Artists Initiative Program. 

The Tacoma Pottery Salon is not just about crafting pottery but also about crafting a collective of potters who embody the shokunin values by sharing their best work, respecting traditions, and passing on their knowledge to future generations. It stands as a testament to the importance of community in the world of pottery.

Contact information:

Photo credit:

Community Outreach by an Organization
Southeast Asian Comedy Collective

The Southeast Asian Comedy Collective (SACC) works in upending commonly held stereotypes by highlighting the diverse cultures and identities of what it means to be Asian in America. With a collective of identities across cultures, generations, and upbringings the collective is using their voices to share unique experiences and perspectives with the world. How is this done? Through comedy.

SACC works with artists, production teams, and venues across the nation to produce comedy events. This includes the annual Southeast Asian New Year Comedy Celebration, Last Friday: A BIPOC Comedian and Pop-Up Kitchen Comedy Social, and Seasons Celebration Comedy Show.

SACC founding members include Meanroth Ny, Sydarith Bo, and Silong Chunn – all long-time Tacoma residents.

Contact information: Southeast Asian Comedy Collective Website, Instagram, Facebook, Email

Photo credit: Southeast Asian Comedy Collective

Arts Patron
Foster’s Creative

From the beginning, when Foster’s Creative was founded, the founders had aspired to create a company that moved beyond marketing to establish genuine connections within the community. Being artists themselves, they immersed themselves in the field of advertising, aiming to convert their creative expertise into a business capable of providing for their families. However, their overarching goal was to invest in their community by narrating meaningful stories and crafting enduring art. One consistent message delivered to their clients was, “Foster’s Creative is a community-building organization posing as a marketing agency.”

Throughout the years, Foster’s Creative had the privilege of collaborating with numerous local businesses, non-profit organizations, and artists. Their marketing campaigns and events often served as platforms for fostering collaborations between these three sectors. They took pleasure in assisting their clients in discovering ways to collaborate with organizations they admired, thereby creating unique and intriguing avenues for local businesses to positively impact their communities through investment, networking, and giving back.

In 2023, Foster’s Creative had the honor of working on several projects that deeply resonated with their team. Among them were the 40th-anniversary film for the Tacoma Dome and a project known as “Ten of Us.” Concerning the Tacoma Dome project, they had the opportunity to delve into decades of stories about this Tacoma landmark, sifting through numerous interviews with community members and reviewing hours of historic footage. Gradually, they pieced together the final 30-minute film, all the while feeling that they were contributing to history. They expressed genuine appreciation to the city for allowing their participation in this endeavor.

“Ten of Us” held a special place as a passion project for Foster’s Creative. It represented a multifaceted, community-oriented initiative featuring over 40 visual artists, musicians, hip-hop artists, and storytellers, all coming together to celebrate Tacoma through a film, art book, and series of events. They were joined by the influential Tacoma brand eTc as a collaborator on “Ten of Us,” emphasizing their consistent goal of fostering collaboration and connection, even in their internal projects.

Contact information: Email,

Photo credit: Foster’s Creative – SALT Event

2023 AMOCAT Arts Awards Nominees
Community Outreach by an Individual
Curtis Ashby, Theresa Byrd, Ellen Ito, Drew Lindgren, Chandler O’Leary, Reid Ozaki & Kristina Batiste, Terri Placentia, James Allen Tucker Rodriguez

Community Outreach by an Organization
Southeast Asian Comedy Collective

Arts Patron
Foster’s Creative

Past AMOCAT Arts Award Recipients
Community Outreach by an Individual
Tamiko Nimura, Aya Hashiguchi Clark and Randy Clark, Jackie Fender, Michael Haeflinger, Christopher Paul Jordan, Connie K. Walle, Jessica Spring, David Domkoski, Katy Evans, Stella Haioulani, Oliver Doriss, William Kupinse, Linda Danforth, Lance Kagey & Tom Llewellyn, Laura and Matt Eklund, Jared Pappas-Kelley & Michael S. Lent, and Lynn Di Nino.

Community Outreach by an Organization
Real Art Tacoma, Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center (T.U.P.A.C.), Tacoma Little Theatre, Monkeyshines, Tacoma Youth Symphony Association, Tacoma Public Library, Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Puget Sound Book Artists, The Grand Cinema, D.A.S.H. Center for the Arts, Fab-5, Hilltop Artists, King’s Books, Victory Music, Barefoot Studios, Tacoma School of the Arts, Tacoma Art Museum & Museum of Glass Education Programs, and Arts Impact.

Arts Patron
Grit City Magazine, Tacoma Creates Campaign, MultiCare Health System, Tacoma Housing Authority, Metro Parks Tacoma, University of Washington Tacoma, ArtsFund, Erivan and Helga Haub and Family, Key Bank, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Urban Grace Church, City Arts, Hotel Murano, The Weekly Volcano, 6th Avenue Business District, Pierce Transit, and Sound Transit Art Program.

Arts Leadership
David Fischer

Banner image: AMOCAT Arts Award design by Chandler O’Leary


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