On March16 Assemblymember Mike Fong recognized Lei Wang as the #AD49 "2023 Woman of Impact" Honoree for Arts and Culture. Lei is the Founder/Principal of the West California Academy of Art and Design located in San Gabriel.
Assemblymember Mike Fong presenting the Award to Lei Wang
On Women's History Month (March), the California State Assembly celebrates phenomenal women making a difference every day in their communities. All the honorees live, work or volunteer in the 49th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, South Pasadena, and Temple City.
Earlier this year, Lei also celebrated 50 years of commitment in Art Education. Congratulations to Lei Wang for her unwavering dedication to Artists of all ages and to Community service. What a fabulous 2023 for such a deserving woman!
from left：Special Need Education Senior Teacher Michelle Hsu，AYC Public Relations Manager Florence Lin，Assemblymember Mike Fong，Lei Wang，IAPAC Vice Chairman Linda Shen，San Gabriel City Councilmember Denise Menchaca
“I feel thrilled to have received this Women of Impact Award,” Lei said, “I would like to thank Florence for nominating me for the award，and thank Assemblyman Mr. Mike Fong for presenting me this Award. Also I would like to thank all the guests here for supporting me, particularly, San Gabriel Mayor Tony, Council member Denise and John, IAPAC Chairman Charles Lu and Vice Chairman Linda Shen, Michelle, Mary Su, Li Tao and Frances, thank you all for your consistent support to our school during the past challenging, yet very successful years!”
from left：IAPAC Chairman Charles Lu, IAPAC Vice Chairman Linda Shen, Assemblymember Mike Fong，Lei Wang，San Gabriel City Councilmember Denise Menchaca, San Gabriel Mayor Tony Ding
from left：Special Need Education Senior Teacher Michelle Hsu, IAPAC Vice Chairman Linda Shen，Lei Wang, San Gabriel City Councilmember Denise Menchaca, AYC Public Relations Manager Florence Lin，Mary Su, Frances Peng, Li Tao
The year of 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Lei’s career in children’s art education. “As I look back on the past half century, I feel lucky that I have been focusing on just one thing, that is, teaching children art.” Lei said.
“Lucky”is the word that Lei uses to define her past 50 years’ life. “I feel lucky because educating the next generation is really one of the most important undertakings of mankind. I am deeply honored to be able to do my part in it.” Lei said, “We are producing intelligent, creative and successful graduates who play a vital role in art, design, and other significant professions around the world. It is really a very fulfilling job.
Lei began to engage in children's art education as early as in the 1970s, in Hefei, Anhui Province, and she founded West California Academy of Art and Design in Los Angeles in 1996.
Lei teaching children art at China Hefei Children's Palace
Lei and her student winners at the MetLife Children’s Drawing Contest Award Ceremony in 1997
Led by Lei for almost 30 years, the Academy has continued to grow with the many cultural and technological landmarks of the new century while refining its educational tools and methodologies to remain on the forefront of art education. During the past thirty years since 1996, Lei has witnessed her more than 5,000 students winning top honors in art competitions occurring across the globe.
Lei and her student Eric Chang at the Doodle4Google Logo Contest Award Ceremony in 2016. Eric won the California State 1st Place
Lei and her student winners Jessica Luo and Jessica Fung at the Drug Awareness Poster Design Contest Award Ceremony in 2013
“I have been teaching children for 50 years, while the children, on the other hand, have also promoted my learning and growth.” Lei said, “This is also what makes me feel lucky: I have been learning every day, keeping up with the times, always being able to communicate with young people.”
Lei cheering on her student contestants at the Little Angle Live Drawing Competition in 2016
Lei and her student winners at the 2016 Health Fair Drawing Contest Award Ceremony
Lei’s students have been admitted into the finest universities in the world. They successfully achieve their dreams of attending the universities and art colleges of their choice. It is because students attend the Academy that they have been accepted to Yale, Harvard, Princeton, UCLA, USC, Art Center, OTIS, RISD and so many other colleges and universities.
“For me, everyday is full of vitality and motivation, everyday is busy with joy.” Lei said, “This is really the greatest blessing of a teacher!”
Lei taking students to the Getty Center for a sketching class in 2017
Lei and her students providing voluntary service for Love for Peace activities aiming to help Ukraine children suffered in the war in 2022
“I know that I am nearly 70 years old,” she said, “however, as the one who has been with children for half a century, my mental age is always very young. This is my luck.”
San Gabriel community leaders and organizations expressed their congratulations to Lei with official recognitions.
from left：San Gabriel Mayor Tony Ding, AYC Public Relations Manager Florence Lin，Lei Wang, San Gabriel City Councilmember Denise Menchaca
The San Gabriel Council presented a certificate of recognition to Lei congratulating her for receiving the Woman of Impact Award at the ceremony on March 16, and presented another certificate of recognition to her on March 21, commending her half-century’s dedication in art education.
from left：San Gabriel City Councilmember John Wu，San Gabriel City Councilmember Denise Menchaca，Lei Wang，San Gabriel Mayor Tony Ding, San Gabriel City Councilmember Eric Chan，San Gabriel City Councilmember John R. Harrington
On March 21 the San Gabriel Hope Lion Club recognized Lei with Outstanding Art Education Achievement Award in honor of her Fifty Years of Excellence in Art Education and Dedicated Contribution to the Community, congratulating her for receiving the prestigious “Woman of Impact Award” presented by Assemblyman Mike Fong.
from left：San Gabriel Hope Lion Club Board Member Lily Chan，Lei Wang，San Gabriel Hope Lion Club Chairman Tony Ding，San Gabriel Hope Lion Club Board Member Linda Shen
community leaders congratulating Lei Wang，from left：IYF Jason Huang，Special Need Education Senior Teacher Michelle Hsu，Lei Wang, AYC Public Relations Manager Florence Lin, Sino-American Economic Trade Culture and Art Alliance President Sun Wei