Building community through the power of art

Connecting cultural expression and social change, Asian Arts Initiative uses art as a vehicle to explore the diverse experiences of all communities which include Asian Americans. Located in Philadelphia’s Chinatown North, Asian Arts Initiative is a multidisciplinary arts center offering exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, youth workshops, and a community gathering space. Here, all of us can view and create art that reflects our lives, and think critically, creatively about the future we want to build for our communities.

Neighborhood History

Chinatown North/Callowhill has served as home to an ethnically, socio- economically, and educationally diverse community of people, despite its reputation as an underdeveloped industrial area. Cut off from the commercial core of Chinatown and Center City when the Vine Street Expressway was built in the 1980s, the neighborhood also celebrates its vibrant history of community organizing, and defeating proposals for a federal prison, baseball stadium, and casino.

A birds-eye view old map of Chinatown Philadelphia with the text "Write or Call Your: Councilman, The Mayor, Your Congressman & Senator !"
Source: A leaflet shared by Mary Yee, AAI Board Member and Community Activist.

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement

Asian Arts Initiative recognizes the original people and stewards of this land, the Lenni Lenape. We acknowledge that before Asian Americans migrated and settled here, that our indigenous ancestors have taken care of this land, historically known as Lenapehoking (Lun-nah-pay-hawk-ing). We are honored to carry on their legacy by recognizing the rights of this land, and by continuing to make space for BIPOC communities.

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