Today In Community: A Bright Side

AAI storefront window covered in “Fill The Walls With Hope” artwork.

Dear Friends,

The outrageously beautiful Spring weather should be lifting my spirits, but days and seasons mean nothing when you’ve been in the same housebound routines, chipping away at a 10-gallon batch of what used to be your brag-worthy “comfort soup,” going on what feels like Day 650 of Covidigeddon, and so-called leaders like Andrew Yang set you back a full twenty years with a tone deaf editorial. And boy do we have thoughts on that. And not just us…

I want to focus on the positive, for now. Here are some uplifting updates:

  • My 15 month old has one more tooth!
  • Our Vine Street façade also looks cute AF thanks to the brilliant “Fill the Walls With Hope” campaign led by the People’s Paper Co-Op initiative at The Village of Arts and Humanities
  • Our board and staff continue to remain all well and accounted for
  • Our Twitter account has 12 new followers (small victories are still victories! Also please follow us @asianartsphilly as it is an account I now personally manage and I am vain.)

But in all seriousness: I’m spirited by how a community of arts administrators in Philadelphia, has come together with major funders in a relatively short period of time (by historically bureaucratic nonprofit standards). Fleisher, Fabric, Vox, PAFA, the Photo Center, the Clay Studio…Philly Contemporary, PMA… I’m not going to be able to name everyone, but I’m sending a special note of thanks to you folks for reaching out. There’s also been an outpouring of support from ALL of the funders. And of course, our comrades at the Asian American organizations doing The Work, and then multiplying it with the onus of supporting communities beset by virulent racism. We are all still buzzing from the AAU Town Hall and the Statement Against Anti-Asian Bias. Don’t forget, it’s Cambodian New Year this month. Send your love to the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia and CAGE! They need your support more than ever. Funding has been created in every sector. The Collective Future Fund, helmed by our board member Aleyamma Mathew, just announced a $2 million Emergency Relief Fund for Survivor Safety. I am honored to call you friend.

So when I say everyone, I mean everyone. You generously shared information, resources and funding with us, with each other. We’re reciprocating. TELL US WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU. I’m not just talking about pre-fabricated well wishes. These personal interactions mean the world to me. The resources you share mean the world to us.

We’re learning together what new strategies we can build out of this crisis and more permanently into the future. The greatest aspect of this strategic evolution, in my humble opinion, is trust. I’ve never felt more trust in my Philly colleagues as I do today, and in typical new Philly kid fashion, I will quote a sports aphorism coined by the 76ers manager Sam Hinkie: trust the process. Or in this case, let me tell you: trust the people.

In Love & Strength,