HERE TO STAY is a community art project that features a series of large-scale outdoor mobile projections that will address themes of gentrification, displacement and community resilience in NYC's Chinatown. Artwork based on oral histories, walking tours, community mapping, and photographs created in community-led workshops will be projected onto buildings and public landmarks in Chinatown and the Lower East Side.

Chinatown Art Brigade's silkscreening station at CTU's Lunar New Year party. Tenants, youth, and volunteers took turns at the silkscreen station, designed and produced by Tomie Arai.

Hopes and wishes scrawled on each personalized print in response to prompt question, "What is your hope for justice for the new year?", written by tenants, youth, and volunteers.

Hopes and wishes scrawled on each personalized print in response to prompt question, "What is your hope for justice for the new year?", written by tenants, youth, and volunteers.

CHINATOWN ART BRIGADE

In 2015, artists Tomie Arai, ManSee Kong and Betty Yu formed the Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB), a cultural collective that recognizes the power of art to advance social justice.  As Asian American social justice minded artists, cultural workers, and media makers, we have roots in activism and movement-building work. We believe that art, culture and media work should serve and advance these social justice movements.

Currently, Chinatown Art Brigade is a project-driven collective that is working in close collaboration with CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities’ Chinatown Tenants Union, a grassroots organization that organizes low-income pan-Asian communities around tenant rights, fighting evictions and community empowerment.

As a collective, our work is driven by the fundamental belief that collaboration with and accountability to those communities that are directly impacted by racial, social and economic inequities must be central to any cultural, art or media making process. Therefore we joined forces to launch ‘Here to Stay’, a project that includes a series of large-scale outdoor mobile projections that will address themes of gentrification, displacement and community resilience in NYC's Chinatown. Artwork based on oral histories, photography and video created in community-led workshops will be incorporated into photo and video montages that will be projected onto buildings and public landmarks in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. 

This will be the first time our collaborative team will be working together and each artist brings extensive experience working with diverse communities to the Here to Stay project. Our goal, as artists, is to join forces with CAAAV to successfully campaign for an equitable community-based rezoning plan that can fight gentrification and protect the rights of people who need affordable housing. Anyone interested in this project may contact us to explore opportunities for collaboration.

 

Many thanks to the A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art, Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation's Art & Social Justice initiative for Public Art (granted to CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities), and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Creative Engagement program for their generous support.