Erik Takeshita

Community Creativity Portfolio Director
Bush Foundation
St. Paul, Minnesota

Erik Takeshita’s passion for building stronger communities through the power of art and culture stems from his experience as a fourth-generation Japanese-American raised in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Growing up, everyone around him seemed to be either white or black; Erik was neither. It was through the arts—specifically, Twin Cities-based Theater Mu and Asian American Renaissance, along with his own work as a ceramic artist—that helped Erik see and hear his “own story,” discover his own voice and make a place for himself in this community.


Erik is grateful he has been able to pursue his passion from many different platforms. He currently stewards a role at the Bush Foundation, a private foundation investing in great ideas and the people that power them in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Previously Erik was the national director for Creative Placemaking at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). He also led a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural arts center in Honolulu and was a Senior Policy Aide to the mayor of the City of Minneapolis.


Erik lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters and holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.