Between 1910 and 1940, as new immigrants flowed through the immigration station on Angel Island inside the San Francisco Bay, Chinese immigrants faced massive discrimination because of one of America’s earliest racist immigration legislation – the Chinese Exclusion Act. Being held for sometimes up to years in brutal conditions at the detention center, many of these immigrations looked for solace by inscribing poetry onto the walls of the center.

Your Wall is Our Canvas: the Angel Island Project” will bring these poems to life in the very space they were created. The oratorio composed by Huang Ruo, will be performed by the Del Sol String Quartet with the contemporary chamber choir, Volti, will weave a story of immigration and discrimination of then and now. The work will premiere on October 17 & 18, 2020 on Angel Island. The premiere will include TED-style talks with prominent experts in immigration law, civil rights, and Chinese-American cultural history.

Del Sol’s Charlton Lee notes, “Despite living in the San Francisco Bay Area, many residents have no idea about the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station. In California, more than a quarter of the population are immigrants and another quarter of those US-born have at least one immigrant parent! We are not only engaging the Bay Area community on their own history through this project, but we will also be working in outreach to encourage students to write their own immigration story or share that of a relative or friend.”

This project is supported in part by the Hewlett Foundation 50 Arts Commissions. Additional funding has been provided by the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.


The Del Sol String Quartet performed for the opening celebration of THE IMMIGRANT YARN PROJECT at Fort Point on Friday, May 3, 2019. Led by Founder and Creative Director of Enactivist, Cindy Weil, the popular art exhibition featured eighty unique totems constructed from knitted and crocheted patches of yarn made by over 600 contributors representing generations of immigrants from every corner of the world — and included contributions from homeless communities, seniors, students, LGBTQ, Native Americans, a former Secretary of State, and descendants of Angel Island immigrants. The works were displayed from March 8 – May 19, 2019 on Fridays – Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm in the Fort Point National Historic Site under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

FAMILY ART NIGHTS at Dianne Feinstein Elementary School

Thanks to an Artists and Communities in Partnership – Creative Youth (ACIP-CY) grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission and the support of the Dianne Feinstein ES PTA, the DFES community will enjoy special programming this year with the Del Sol String Quartet and teaching artist Andi Wong. A series of four community evenings have been scheduled.

DFES FAN #1: “HONORING OUR STORIES – OUR ANCESTORS” – Monday, November 18, 2019, 5:30pm-7:00pm Introducing the Angel Island Project and the members of the Del Sol String Quartet, participants learned how to conduct an oral history interview.

DFES FAN #2: “MY STORY, YOUR BOOK” – Monday, January 27, 2020 5:30pm-7:00pm Exploring the importance of storytelling and the written word through the art of bookmaking with Cheryl Ball and C.K. Itamura of BOOK ARTS ROADSHOW.

DFES FAN #3: “THE POET’S TREE” – Monday, March 23, 2020, 5:30pm-7:00pm Celebrating World Poetry Day with the construction of The Poet’s Tree.

DFES FAN #4: “YOUR WALL IS OUR CANVAS: THE ANGEL ISLAND PROJECT” – Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 5:30pm-7:00pm A presentation of the musical compositions and poems written by DFES students with a performance by the Del Sol String Quartet.