The Urban Village Artist Collective
The Urban Village is a space for Karen and Karenni artists and musicians to share their artwork. The Urban Village works with and empowers local Karen and Karenni youth, scholars, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and leaders to serve their community by empowering them in their unique skill sets. Our village is open to all forms of artistic expression and is currently home to the largest collection of Karen/Karenni paintings of anywhere in the United States.
The Urban Village Artist Collective is a group of artists who've organized around our community space.
These artists are frequently contracted for Urban Village projects and activities.
Saw Kennedy - Resident Artitst
Saw Kennedy's artistic career began in 1988, the same year as the "8-8-88 Uprising" in Myanmar. He comes from a family of talented artists and originally founded a gallery with his three artistic brothers in Mawlamine, Mon State, Myanmar. After arriving in Umpiem refugee camp, Kennedy became the Youth Development Art Director and in 2005, moved to Mae Sot, Thailand. For years, he lived in Mae Sot and worked with the local community as a teacher and painter. Thara Kennedy is our current resident artist at the Urban Village and lives above our community space in our "artist studio". We are lucky to now partner with Saw Kennedy here in East St Paul.
Ku Paw - Founding Artist
Ku Paw was born in Kawthoolei, the ancestral homeland of the Knyaw Po. Ku learned to paint and draw while growing up in Mae La refugee camp and in Mae Sot, Thailand. Ku has utilized his craft in service of his people as he's consistently donated paintings for auction where all proceeds have gone to help internally displaced people in Myanmar. Ku has also run youth art camps at The Urban Village since 2019. Ku Paw is a friend, a father, a teacher and the first member of the Urban Village Artist Collective. It's an honor to support his amazing work.