Artist Residencies, Public Projects and Collaborations
2018 Wavehill Winter Workspace Program Residency
Every winter, Wavehill’s Winter Workspace Program transforms the Glyndor Gallery into studio spaces for artists to develop new work and offer creative opportunities for public interaction with the garden. Individual artists share their studio practice with the public on several drop-in and open studio days. From January through March there are two, six-week sessions. This year’s Session 1 artists were Tomie Arai, Camille Hoffman, Pedro Ramirez, Jessica Rohrer, Jean Shin, and Austin Thomas. During the Winter Workspace session, Arai planned new research-based, site-specific work that addresses local histories. The research included the indigenous Lenape Indians and their forced removal from their homeland, as well as an exploration of slavery in colonial New York and the Bronx.
2018 Culture Push Fellowship for Utopian Practice
As part of our fellowship, members of the Chinatown Art Brigade were invited to be guest editors for Culture Push’s Online Journal PUSH/PULL. The Spring 2018 Issue, “Chinatown/Connex” gathered writing from CAB members who shared a deep concern for the future of Chinatowns, both locally and globally, as the tides of hyper-development and real estate investments threaten to displace residents who have called these places home for decades. Each contributor powerfully demonstrated the need to draw connections between displaced low-income communities of color and the strength of grass-roots, community-led resistance and resilience. With contributions from Huiying Chan, Diane Wong and Mei Lum, Alina Shen, Emily Mock, the Gòngmíng Collective for Language Justice, and the Chinatown Art Brigade. Artwork by Liz Moy.
2016 A Blade of Grass Fellows for Socially Engaged Art
Working collectively as the Chinatown Art Brigade, Tomie Arai, Betty Yu and ManSee Kong's Fellowship will support Here to Stay, a collaboration with CAAAV's Chinatown Tenants Union, a grassroots organization that works with pan-Asian communities around tenants rights, youth leadership and community empowerment. The project will address themes of gentrification, displacement and community resilience in Chinatown through projections onto buildings and public landmarks in Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
Museum of Chinese in America: Archeology of Change
Archeology of Change was initiated as an oral history project by artist Tomie Arai and scholar Lena Sze as the Museum of Chinese in America prepared to move into its current home on Centre Street. In 2009, MoCA commissioned Arai to develop a community portrait of New York Chinatown based on the stories of those she interviewed. At the core of these conversations were the ever-present concerns of gentrification and displacement.
In 2013, Arai's installation Portraits of New York Chinatown was created for MoCA's exhibition, Chinatown: Beyond the Streets. The culmination of four years of research through oral histories with long time Chinatown residents, Arai's installation presents a story of a neighborhood undergoing enormous social and economic change.
The artist would like to acknowledge the following people who collaborated on this research and art project: Janice Liao, Herb Tam, and Cynthia Lee. Oral histories were conducted with: Lira and Ying Chuen Chan, Henry Chang, Ching Yeh Chen, Lana Cheung, Margaret Chin, Marcella Dear, Bert Feinberg, Anne Ho, Tran Han Ho, Yun Xiu Huang, Fani Jacobson, Paul Kazee, Bob Lee, Jan Lee, Tom and Pamela Lee, Wing Lee, Cindy Lin, Connie Ling, Frank Liu, Kam Mak, Kow Loon Ong, Sio Wai Sang, Marilyn Sontag and Daniel Carter, Betty Sze, Francis Tso, Toby Turkel, Spring Wang, Dirk Westphal, Mannar Wong, Sing Kong Wong, Jenny Ye, Pang Ho Ying. Recordings of the full interviews can viewed at MOCA’s Collections and Research Center.
Each year, New York University hosts an acclaimed artist to hold residency with its Asian/Pacific/American Institute. Artists-in-Residence are invited to bring their notoriety, artistic work, and history of involvement with the Asian/Pacific American community to NYU. The Artist-in-Residence uses his/her time at A/P/A to create important new work, artistic retrospectives, forums, or conferences. Scholars, fellow artists, and community members familiar or new to the artist’s work, gain a unique opportunity to engage with the Artist-in-Residence within a university setting. During Tomie’s residency in 1998, she completed two installations for the program’s gallery; Momotaro/Peach Boy and Resident Aliens: a collaboration with Siddhartha Joag, who was then an undergraduate student at NYU. Tomie was the A/P/A Institute’s first Artist in Residence and she has been invited back to be a Visiting Scholar for the academic year 2013.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
In the four storefront “Windows of 97”, the LES Tenement Museum, in collaboration with local artists, presents changing site-specific art installations that address issues of contemporary immigration. These installations tell the stories of the recent immigrants living in New York City, explore the connections between immigrant experiences past and present, and seek to inspire dialogue about social issues of concern to recent immigrant communities. Artist Tomie Arai believes the immigrant’s journey to America is an experience layered with multiple perspectives and strategies for survival rather than a single trajectory that leads to American citizenship. In 1998, Arai joined ESOL students from the Museum’s Shared Journeys Program to create a collaborative window installation about the experiences of newly arrived immigrants and their impact on the life of the city. Notions of dislocation and loss are contrasted with creative strategies for survival and alternative networks of support. Re:mixed: Voices from New York's Immigrant Communities explores how immigrants can reinvent new identities and redefine what it means to be American. The window installation is located at the juncture between private and public space, inside and outside, foreign and familiar. It presents shifting perspectives that will challenge the notion of having only one point of view, one destination, and one community.
2018 Laundromat Project Create Change Residency
The Chinatown Art Brigade is pleased to announce that it has been selected for a 2018 Create Change residency. Over the course of six months to a year, the CAB and 4 additional resident artists will develop creative projects as sites for community engagement. For a second year, the LP will focus on the theme of sanctuary. Each participant has been invited to reimagine the role of arts and culture in addressing questions related to sanctuary as both a place and idea. Among the questions that we will address are: How do we co-create and support safety and well-being in our communities? How do we incorporate sanctuary as part of a creative practice?
During the Create Change residency, CAB will launch a collaborative, critical mapping project that centers on place-keeping efforts in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. The long-term goal of the project will be protecting and preserving these historic neighborhoods. The Here to Stay: Housing for the People Mapping Project will be a bilingual, multimedia project featuring short video and audio testimonials from tenants who are directly impacted by displacement. CAB members will train tenants in the new media technology of augmented reality to unlock audio and visual place-keeping stories for future walking tours and virtual tours via web-based interactive mapping.
2018 FABnyc Storefront Residency
Occupying FABnyc’s storefront office at 61 East Fourth Street, the Chinatown Art Brigade will be in residence from January to August, 2018. As part of this 7 month residency, the Chinatown Art Brigade held its first Open Studio on May 22, 2018 to launch Placekeeping-Here to Stay, a multilingual, multimedia program that features AR video and stories of tenants who live in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Manhattan’s Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
The Fourth Arts Block/FABnyc’s mission is to strengthen the cultural vitality of the Lower East Side. Since its founding in 2001, FABnyc serves as a strong advocate for the Lower East Side’s creative community and, specifically, for the East Fourth Cultural District which is the only designated arts district of its kind in New York City. The FABnyc Storefront Residency is located in the front offices of Cooper Square Committee, tenant organizers who developed the first Community Land Trust in NYC on East 4th Street. Also in residence at FABnyc’s Downtown Art Building is the Native Art Department International, a partnership between artists Jason Lujan and Maria Hupfield who will be developing programs in solidarity with Native Americans, artists and arts organizations.
Artists & Communities: America Creates for the Millennium
A community arts residency sponsored by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; hosted by Self Help Graphics & Art, Los Angeles, CA.
During her 3-month residency in 2000, Arai explored the differences and similarities between her perspective as an Asian woman and those of the host organization, Self Help Graphics’ largely Chicano constituency. From a starting place of being ‘other’ in America, Arsi and a core group of eight local artists investigated the themes of identity and culture, geography and place, memory and time.
The result of this collaboration was the exhibition LAtitudes, which opening in the SHG Galeria Otra Vez in May 2000. Tomie and artists Alex Donis, Ofelia Esparza, Pat Gomez, Rebeca Guerrero, Sojin Kim, John Montelongo, Peter Rangel and Shizu Saldamando worked with master printer Jose Alpuche, screen-printing on non-traditional materials using a variety of experimental techniques. A solo exhibition of Arai’s prints and new work created during the residency also filled the front gallery.
Arai’s residency included the production of two limited edition silkscreened prints, digital workshops for East EA teens, printmaking classes at a local elementary school, an Open Studio session and a series of artist talks for students of the University of California at Irvine and the staff of the Japanese American National Museum.
Her residency also initiated a dialogue between Self Help Graphics and the Japanese American Community Center about collaborative programming showcasing the work of Asian American and Chicano artists.
Several of the artist’s prints were subsequently purchased by the Peter Norton Family Foundation and given as gifts to the newly established permanent collection of the contemporary art at the Japanese American National Museum.
Arizona Humanities Council
In 1997, Tomie Arai spent two weeks in Arizona as a guest of the Arizona Humanities Council, travelling to the Gila River Indian Reservation and the town of Parker, the sites of two Japanese American Relocation Centers built on Indian reservations during World War II. The purpose of this visit was to conduct research for a series of silkscreened prints which would document the shared experiences of Japanese Americans and Native Americans during the war. These prints would be given as gifts from the Japanese American Citizens League to the Gila River Indian Tribe and the Colorado River Indian Tribe, at the opening ceremony of a conference entitled Transforming Barbed Wire.
Meetings with community residents, tribal elders and students from Gila River and Poston were especially meaningful, as all these encounters gave the wartime experience a dimension that enabled Arai to visualize history in a completely personal way. Conversations with Rick Noguchi, Mas Inoshita and the members of the Arizona JACL, the tribal elders from the Gila River Indian Tribe, the ‘Parker Poet’ Janet Winans, the students from the Gila River Sacton Middle School and their teacher Jennifer Allison and Ms.Hanaga Fisher--Miss Colorado River Indian Tribe 1997-- are featured in a silkscreened diptych which was entitled Return.
These shared memories helped Arai understand the potential of art to frame events from the past with new meaning. Through collaborative projects like these, the process of artmaking helped to keep the events of World War II vivid in our collective memory, while adding different perspectives to a common narrative. "Return" is now hanging in the tribal offices of the Colorado River Indians and the Gila River Indian Tribes.
Women's Studio Workshop
The Women's Studio Workshop is a visual arts organization that provides residencies and internships to women artists at all stages of their careers.
Founded in 1974 by four women artists, Ann Kalmbach, Tatana Kellner, Anita Wetzel, and Barbara Leoff Burge, the WSW has been committed to developing an alternative space for artists to create new work and share skills.
A book arts residency at the Women's Studio Workshop in 2003 enabled Arai to create Momotaro/Peach Boy, a portfolio of prints based on a popular Japanese folk tale. This edition of 9 solar plate prints was placed in the collections of the New York Public Library, the Vassar College Library and was purchased by Williams College for their permanent collection.