What is AOKI?

Interruption is a way to stop and still us, creating the necessary space to rethink the things we assume. Only by allowing our defaults to be disrupted will we be open to hear and see the world around us differently.

We believe play is KEY to our work. It is an invitation to a creative place of curiosity and exploration. Play is a result of safety and creates freedom. Our team cultivates playfulness for ourselves, and we invite the artists we work with and the public into that space.

We freely receive, and we freely give. We receive from artists and give to artists. We receive from the city and we give to the city we love.


The Team

Aiyana Taylor: Founder and Executive Director
AOKI is a word created from the Japanese phrase "ame no kaori",  meaning "the scent of rain". The vision for AOKI art events is that they will be like the scent of rain on dry earth. Our city is full of potential and everything needed to flourish, it just needs some fresh water. AOKI is meant to catalyze life. 

I grew up in a home surrounded by my dad's illustrations and sculptures. For me art is home. Once I became a mother and created my own home, art was the nourishing element. Since then, I also have grown to understand my strengths as a developer, collaborator and catalyst for others. 

Just as I have found art to be nourishing in my life and in my family, I want AOKI art events to generate life and growth in our city of Chicago.


Tiffany Wong: Creative Director
I am an abstract painter with a focus on exploring the internal landscape through art. Not only is it important for me to use art as a way of self discovery, but I believe that it is a beautiful way to connect with humans however similar or different they are.  My aim in life is to holistically experience life with curiosity and courage.  Art, wellness, and AOKI fit into that vision so well!


Lauren McKeen: Secretary and Treasurer
I have a BA in art history and a propensity to provide structure and organization to most situations. I find great joy in hearing new ideas and helping to make them into a reality. AOKI gives me the opportunity to use these gifts and to connect with a diverse group of artists in a city that means so much to me.