asian women giving circle's celebration of arts and activism

If you're in New York, and want to support some really cool activist art, you might want to check out the Asian Women Giving Circle's Celebration of Arts and Activism. This Wednesday, March 11, 6:00-8:00pm at the Gana Art Gallery.

Check out hand-drawn comic books by Asian American teenage girls, a "digital quilt" that weaves the stories of women garment workers in New York City, and a multi-media performance piece by "Maria the Korean Bride," among other cool projects that will be on display.

The arts projects, each of which received a 2008 grant from the Asian Women Giving Circle, will occupy individual "booths" at the Chelsea art gallery where they will showcase their work. There will also be arts and crafts for sale, along with an auction. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit the Asian Women Giving Circle, which is currently soliciting proposals for its 2009 grant cycle.

The 2008 grantees that will be on display and performing at the event are:
Asian American Writers' Workshop - Drawing in Color: Empowering Girls through Comics
The Asian American Writers' Workshop created an out-of-school program for teenage girls to create their own superheroes and comic books. Fifteen high school female students of diverse ethnicities met over six weekends to talk about gender and ethnic stereotypes in mainstream comics while creating comics of their own. www.aaww.org.

Katie Quan & MoCA - Digital Quilt
This project, conceived by Katie Quan, a former garment worker, union organizer and now the associate chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, is a multi-media piece that "weaves" together the untold stories of Asian women labor activists from New York and China. To create the piece, Chinese American women garment workers took part in a course taught by award-winning filmmaker Nancy Tong where they learned to operate video cameras and record their own stories in their own words. The Digital Quilt will be the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas (MoCA)'s first labor exhibit at its new location.www.ilr.cornell.edu.

Maria Yoon - Maria the Korean Bride
Maria the Korean Bride is a poignant, funny, multi-media solo performance project drawing on the personal experiences and pressures surrounding marriage -- from the perspective of an unmarried Asian American woman in her thirties. Maria Yoon's theatrical performance includes art, film, monologue, movement and audience interaction. While creating her piece, Maria traveled around the country, dressed in the traditional Korean wedding costume, and married a different man in each state. The video footage she recorded from her many marriages forms a visual backdrop to her theatrical performance. www.mariathekoreanbride.com.

Slanty Eyed Mama / Kate Rigg - The Urban Tao
A tour-de-force multimedia play with live music, poetry, & graffiti art design by artist Kate Rigg, The Urban Tao is designed to be performed by one to four actors in the style of The Vagina Monologues. The piece is one of an ongoing series by the artist which chronicles the contemporary experiences of Ameriasians in America. The piece also features a soundscape composed by Rigg along with a DJ and a percussionist. www.slantyeyedmama.com.

Tea & Justice - a documentary film by Ermena Vinluan
"Tea and Justice" is a documentary film about three immigrant Asian women New York Police Department (NYPD) officers featuring candid, intimate, fascinating and occasionally painful interviews. Each officer tells the story of her immigrant family's beginnings in this country, her inspiration for choosing a non-traditional career, and her experiences confronting sexism and racial stereotyping in her jobs and in her community. www.TeaAndJustice.com.

Sakhi for South Asian Women - Arts and Empowerment
A 10-week interactive workshop exploring issues around domestic abuse through poetry, prose, and film sponsored by Sakhi for South Asian Women and the Indo-Caribbean Women's Empowerment Group in Richomond Hill, Queens. www.sakhi.org.

Center for the Study of Asian American Health - Heart Health Project
The Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH) at NYU Medical Center received a grant to create the Heart Health Project, an intergenerational photography project about cardiovascular health, the leading cause of death among elderly Chinese women. The project is an intimate portrait of the lives of s six senior women and six young women including their diet, exercise and other daily habits using photovoice, an innovative photographic technique. www.med.nyu.edu/csaah.

Girls Write Now
This mentoring project for Asian high school girls in NYC matched each girl with an Asian American woman professional writer for weekly mentoring throughout an entire school year along with monthly workshops. One workshop invited the girls to write about "two truths and one lie" about things their hands have touched using different poetic genres and forms. www.girlswritenow.org.
The Asian Women Giving Circle made grants to support projects led by Asian American women in NYC who use the arts in some way to further a social justice goal. Only applicants from New York City's five boroughs were considered. With some exceptions, most projects received $10,000 grants. For more information, visit the Asian Women Giving Circle website here.

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