MISSION & HISTORY
Asian Arts Initiative advances racial equity and understanding, activates artists, youth, and their communities through creative practice and dialogue grounded in the diverse Asian American experience.
Located in Philadelphia’s Chinatown North, Asian Arts Initiative is home to a multidisciplinary arts center situated in a former Warner Brothers screening house - where all people across experience and skill levels, age, race, and class backgrounds can view and create art that reflects our lives, as well as think critically and creatively about the future we want to build for our communities. Through exhibitions, performances, workshops, and community projects, we provide an inclusive gathering place for conversation and exchange of ideas. Our community-based arts initiatives seek out and cultivate innovative models for artists to engage with local communities, with an emphasis on working in partnership with our immediate neighborhood and area organizations.
Founded in 1993 in response to community concerns about growing racial tension between African American and Asian American communities, the organization grew out of a program at the Painted Bride Art Center: Philadelphia’s first-ever Asian American Arts Festival: Live Traditions/Contemporary Issues. 25 years later, our work remains rooted in this initial concern, and programming is centered around building community and gaining greater cross-cultural understanding through the arts.