Small Museum of the Month: Asian Arts Initiative

This month of March, Sustaining Places is featuring the Asian Arts Initiative located at 1219 Vine Street in the Chinatown North/Callowhill section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Asian Arts Initiative is a multidisciplinary community arts center, idea lab, exhibition space, and gathering space for artists, activists, and people of the community. The Asian Arts Initiative is an exceptional institution for its engagement with the surrounding community. They offer several programs geared towards their mission of promoting racial equity and advocating for a greater cross-cultural understanding through the arts. The Youth Arts Workshop, an artist-in-residence program entitled the Social Practice Lab, thought-provoking exhibitions curated by local and internationally-known curators and artists, and the renovation of Pearl Street, a derelict alley, into an “arts district” are just some of the community-building activities Asian Arts Initiative operates from their facilities.

color photograph of Pearl Street alley

Their revolving exhibitions are particularly intriguing for their pedagogical values. In the past year the Asian Arts Initiative has showcased three exhibitions, Loving Blackness curated by Jaishri Abichandani, A More Perfect Union: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Loving v. Virginia curated by Dave Kyu, and now, Hurry Up and Wait curated by Adriel Luis. They strive to be a socially relevant organization, addressing the needs of their surrounding community, and furthering the importance of the arts in lifelong learning.

color photograph of man and boys

In May 2018 they will celebrate their 25th Anniversary with a city-wide, multi-disciplinary exhibition featuring over 25 commissioned works of art by Asian American artists from around the world as well. The special celebration will include a final event in collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC), located in Washington, DC.

Please check out Asian Arts Initiative’s website, instagram, and facebook page to learn more about the organization and what exciting programming events they are organizing in the coming weeks and months!

Images courtesy of the Asian Arts Initiative.

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