Chinatown Arts Week brings the community together

This year has been especially tough for so many people. And adding to the stress of world events is the isolation we’re experiencing as we safely socially distance and shelter in our homes whenever possible. It can make us feel disconnected and alone. Which is why Chinatown Arts Week, Think!Chinatown’s arts and culture festival currently in full swing, feels especially nourishing this year.

The festival events are a hybrid of in-person/online experiences. We’re especially excited about these (safe, socially distanced!) outside events. Even though everything looks and feels different these days, it’s nice to see some real-life experiences start to crop back up on our calendars. We can’t wait to get back out in the neighborhood, experiencing things together as a community!

And there’s a silver lining to our newfound familiarity with virtual events, too – Chinatown Arts Week now includes virtual events from Chinatowns across the country. This year, you can tune in and connect with residents of Chinatowns far and wide.

Below are just a few highlights in the fabulous schedule. Check out the website to learn about all the great events and register to attend!

Thursday, October 22 – 8:00 PM

“Landmarks” is an audio exploration of memory and place, aimed at preserving and mapping places in Chinatown that hold a special place in our hearts. T!C Storytelling Team Lead Rochelle Kwan will lead you down memory lane to some personal favorites with longtime Chinatown community members. We will explore the iconic PS 23 (70 Mulberry St) schoolhouse that looms large in the memories of many generations. Local experts will reveal its rich history as the first modern public school and a community center, give an update on its current state, examine its importance and imagine the possibilities for its resurrection as a place for creating future memories. Paired with photos from Urban Archive, these soundbytes take you back in time to the streets of Chinatown, no matter how long you’ve been away. Guests include Architect Erik Chu AIA, Historian Kerri Culhane, Urbanist Yin Kong, and others. Co-sponsored by Lower East Side Preservation Initiative. Get tickets.

On view October 22 – 25 | 69 Mulberry Street

After the Mid-Autumn festival, emptied mooncake tins often become treasure boxes of small things, memories, and preservers of wishes. This year, T!C celebrates this versatile object through a participatory exhibition. We’ve invited artists to express the spirit of the mooncake tin in this group show. Pieces vary from painting and photography to ceramics. More info.

Saturday, October 24 – 12:00 PM

Play a round of mahjong with some pigeons and new friends! A mahjong table will be set out in front of this delightful mural to be the perfect backdrop for your Chinatown selfie. This is a collaboration between activist Karlin Chan and artist Peach Tao who are installing culturally appropriate murals that locals and visitors alike can relate to in and around the Manhattan Chinatown area. Tao leaves her special mark – a little peach – in each one. You have to look carefully to catch everything that’s going on in each mural. And keep your eyes open for other colorful artist murals hidden in plain sight as you stroll through the neighborhood. While your here, check out their other mural at 100 Mosco St! This event will be outdoors. Masks are required to participate.

Saturday, October 24 – 7:00 PM

Black Gotham Experience (BGX) delivers this exciting wall projection, played continuously on a loop. The fashion story centers on Domingo, one of the first Black landowners in New Netherland circa July 13th, 1643. He lived in the southeastern corner of current day Chinatown. This project is a duet between Kamau Ware, founder of BGX, and Charles Johnson, a model/stylist & visual artist who plays Domingo in the BGX Universe.

The piece will be projected on a wall so you can view it outdoors safely. It will be played on a loop – come by anytime between 7-9pm!

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