Ideas Happen 2004

Ideas Happen 2004

Inspiring new beginnings

Visa is proud to support the creative spirit and boundless energy of our Ideas Happen winners. We believe that building a better community starts by helping people build their dreams. Our twelve outstanding innovators each received $25,000 from Visa to help them launch their ideas. We can hardly wait to see what they’ll do next.


Ia Y., CA
Hmong Art/Self-Expression

I am a Hmong-American woman, born in a rice field in Laos, and raised in the United States of America. Although historically, we are a people without a land, we flourished for generations among the hills and mountains of Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Southern China. We developed an intricate social structure rich in art and traditions. The advent of the Vietnam War thrust my people into a confrontation of life and death in which they had no choice. Within a period of less than a quarter century, life as the Hmong knew it changed forever.

The riches of art and culture are quickly disappearing from the Hmong. My goal and passion is to build a complete collection of Hmong art from around the globe and preserve it as a symbol of the beauty and creativity of the Hmong. I will use the $25,000 proceeds to travel to all the areas where there is a concentration of Hmong communities and purchase or commission any Hmong elders who still have knowledge of producing such art. I know that this endeavor may take more than the resources that I have as an individual, but if I initiate the crusade, I believe that many others will follow and we will be successful in preserving our heritage.