In 2016, we began our first long-term collaboration with the Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB) 唐人街藝術隊／ 唐人街艺术队. CAB is a cultural collective that recognizes the power of art to advance social justice. CAB is a project-driven collective that is working in collaboration with CAAAV’s Chinatown Tenants Union, a grassroots group organizing for tenant rights, fighting evictions and community empowerment.
‘Here to Stay’ was a year-long project with CAAAV’s Chinatown Tenants’ Union (CTU) that included a series of large-scale outdoor mobile projections addressing themes of gentrification, displacement and community resilience in NYC’s Chinatown. Artwork based on oral histories, placekeeping walks, and maps created during community-led workshops were incorporated into photo and video montages that were projected onto buildings and public landmarks in Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
Messages and designs illuminated the neighborhood in an effort to raise awareness about a Chinatown Tenants Union-led building campaign, the community-led rezoning campaign, and a general call for residents to take action when faced with landlord harassment. Projections were held in two busy intersections throughout the neighborhood: outside Grand Street subway station, and along Delancey Street – a main throughway where luxury developments and trendy establishments have sprung up over the past decade; one of many gentrifying forces affecting Chinatown and its residents.
The Community Projection Event included messages to elected officials like NYC City Councilmember Margaret S. Chin and landlord RA Cohen (who has been harassing tenants in hopes of displacing them and raising rents), karaoke, and the opportunity for community members to share their stories on the People’s Pad.
In 2018, we partnered with CAB on their Here to Stay Philadelphia project, which was a collaboration with the Chinese Youth Organizing Project (CYOP) of Asian Americans United (AAU) to provide and design a visual platform that amplified immigration rights on both a local and national level. Through a series of community planning workshops and convenings, the project culminated in a large-scale outdoor projection event celebrating stories of resistance and resilience in Philadelphia, putting a human face on immigration, and generating a nation-wide response to the urgent issues facing immigrant communities.