Creating Community Through The Power of Art

AAI's Board of Directors gathered in AAI’s gallery space.

No part of the community is more important to Asian Arts Initiative than its own staff and
contributors. They are the power source of our community practice. We have never felt this more acutely than in the crucible of a medical pandemic conflated by a crisis of anti-Asian racism.

Operating a programming center can sometimes be difficult because it is so complex—marrying infrastructure with creative programming while remaining discipline agnostic and achieving social equilibrium in our work toward justice for the Asian American community.

I feel tremendous privilege in being able to work with every single one of our people, and feel even weighted by the privilege it took to have been able to quickly deploy an “at home” strategy. We were incredibly fortunate to have had the foresight to over-plan for a scenario approaching this one (though I’d be foolish to suggest we came even close to predicting this level of administrative triage). We don’t have all the answers for the future but I’m positive we can only find them with the full strength of our team.

Our Board shares my pride in the intrepid staff and contributors, who are busy tinkering, developing and creating small care packages of homespun content—information, stories, songs, zines, recipes, memes—to share with you. It is literally the very least we can do but comes from the largest vector of our hearts, where nourishment, levity and the occasionally distasteful distraction can and are encouraged to thrive:


I hope the Board’s leadership in the new Initiative can serve as an indication of how by investing in our staff, the community can, in Board Vice Chair Amy Sadao’s words, “come out of this crisis even stronger.”

Stronger than ever,

Anne Ishii