Civic Design Studio co-founders, Tommy Wong and Ken Ikeda first met and collaborated in 2002 on a series of youth-led video productions. Nearly 15 years later, shared interests in community, design and space brought them together again to establish the Studio within the Eastside Garage.
We aspire to transform playgrounds, classrooms, and open spaces to assure opportunities and access to learning and play. We look forward to partnering with dreamers, problem-solvers and community to imagine, design and build augmented reality installations covering the side of a health services building in Chinatown; a modified shipping container to anchor a new cultural market in an empty parcel; or a learning toy that is a new take on square blocks. These examples don't just hint at projects in development but also reflect the range of interests, challenges and opportunities across our network.
Thomas Wong- Co Founder
Thomas Wong is an Oakland-based mixed-media artist and award-winning graphic designer whose large-scale work was recently featured at the entrances of both the Alameda County Government and Oakland Museum buildings. He is a recurring featured artist at the Oakland Museum, and has been showcased at Yerba Buena Center For The Arts and Yoshi’s Jazz Heritage Center.
Thomas’ graphic and interactive design work has been inducted into the permanent historical archives of the Smithsonian Institute and the American Museum of History. As a graphic designer he has supported dozens of Bay-Area social justice and community organizations for over 15 years.
Recently Thomas has served as Executive Director of the Laurel Business District Association, where he directed the creation and installation of over 25 pieces of large-scale public artwork and directed over 80 large-scale public events and community-building efforts. This resulted in a “Best of the East Bay” award for the district in 2012.
A lifelong cultural arts advocate and educator, Thomas has taught hundreds of students in grades K-12 in visual arts and technology programs. He currently coordinates a number of public art projects and community-building initiatives throughout Oakland. He is a 15 year member of the EastSide Arts Alliance and Cultural Center, where he works closely with community members to produce grassroots-driven public artwork and cultural events in underserved neighborhoods.
Ken Ikeda- Co Founder
A former public media CEO and nonprofit Executive Director, organizations under Ken’s direction have secured $150m+ in private equity investment and philanthropic support; managed an $8.5m loan fund; worked with Sundace, MOMA, Merce Cunningham, HUD, NEA, PBS, NPR, NSF and DOL; negotiated over $300m in mergers and acquisitions that grew public radio’s audience reach by 65 million+ listeners; consulted with over 250 public broadcasting station GM’s and University Trustees; oversaw the country’s first 10 GB municipal fiber optic networked NGO; co-authored the National Public Lightpath white paper on the future of public broadband adopted by NPR, PBS and theCorporation for Public Broadcasting; trained over 20,000 incumbent digital media employees for companies as diverse as Pandora, Pixar and Wells Fargo; and recognized by the MacArthur Foundation's "genius award" for organizations (bavc.org), now titled the Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. In 2001, he launched a youth media program from within Oakland Unified’s McClymonds High School that grew to serve 46 middle and high school programs across the Bay Area, partner with universities for college credits, technical certifications and creative pathways for continued education and professional development. He is a founder of the youth record label, Bay Unity Music Project, and has extensive policy, research and data management expertise through work with the NYC Department of Homeless Services, NYU’s Institute for Education and Social Policy and Stanford University’s John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. Most recently, he was co-architect and originator of the public media news sharing platform, ChannelX and the music video streaming collective, VuHaus. Ken's Board service includes: Youth Speaks, Greater Public, The Working Group, Center for Asian American Media, New Art Trust, and National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture.
Ofiu and Ivotia Fihaki
Ofiu and Ivotia are longtime family residents of the San Antonio, Oakland neighborhood that Civic Design Studio is located. Together they bring decades of trade craftsmanship and artistry in large-scale public street art and event production throughout Oakland, most notably Chinatown, Laurel and East Oakland Districts. Ofiu has 35 years of experience with various trades: cement-laying, construction, roofing and carpentry, as well as a decade of experience in installing large-scale public art exhibits.