2017 Pearl Street Season Opening


2017 Pearl Street Season Opening
Saturday, June 10, 12 – 4 p.m.
The event is free, but donations are accepted!

Make your donation here!

Kick off the Pearl Street season with us! Help keep Pearl Street beautiful with a community cleanup in the morning, and celebrate the warm weather with art, music, food, and family-friendly fun throughout the afternoon. Hosted by our Youth Arts Workshop students who will show off the work that they create this spring! We will also be featuring Theatre of the Oppressed mini-workshops, Jaiya Bhandari’s Social Saturday, Aissulu Kadyrzhanova’s pavement mural completion, and Rachel Ishikawa’s sound installation!

The Pearl Street Opening will feature:
Jaiya Bhandari presenting:
Haley Waugh’s workshop to create holistic representations of one’s physical self through acknowledging adversity and celebrating beauty in every form. Participants’ artworks will be displayed as part of a collective exhibit.

Mackenzie Pickaart’s workshop to explore the insidious nature of advertising and the co-opting of bodies as walking billboards for corporations. Participants will make buttons to express the power of their thoughts and emotions to create their own ‘walking billboard’.

Rachel Ishikawa, Social Practice Lab artist-in-residence, displaying her sound installation made with sounds collected by Asian Arts Initiative students and employees

Aissulu Kadyrzhanova inviting people to help her paint and complete a new cherry blossom-themed pavement mural on Pearl Street

Yvonne Lung, our newest Social Practice Lab artist-in-residence, sharing some home-made Chinese dishes made from recipes shared by community elders

Theatre of the Oppressed leading “Neighborhood Games” mini-workshops using theatre games and techniques to take us back to our childhoods

Nakatani Gong Orchestra


Pearl Street Micro-Project: Nakatani Gong Orchestra
1100 Block of Pearl Street
First Friday, June 2, 8:00-9:00 p.m.

Tatsuya Nakatani and local members of the Nakatani Gong Orchestra (NGO), a mobile community engagement project which organizes local ensembles performing on multiple bowed gongs, will hold an evening acoustic performance followed by an informal workshop during which audience members will be able to learn about the instruments.

Also happening on June First Friday is our opening reception for A More Perfect Union: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Loving v. Virginia in the main gallery.

June First Friday: A More Perfect Union Opening Reception

A More Perfect Union: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Loving v. Virginia
Emily Chow Bluck; Klyde Breitton; Anne Canfield; Priyanka Dasgupta & Chad Marshall; Leena Jayaswal; Matt Kalasky; Adalena Kavanagh; Jino Lee; Shannon Lewis; Jacque Liu & Sarah Kate Burgess; Zavé Martohardjono; Michelle Myers; Farrah Parkes & Brad Linder; Tania Qurashi; Boyd Ruamcharoen & Christine Dickerson; Hiro Sakaguchi; Anatol San Jose Steck; Martin Wiley
Curated by Dave Kyu
June 2nd – August 25th
Opening Reception: First Friday, June 2, 6-8 p.m.// Featuring: Poetry by Michelle Myers at 7 p.m.

Join us for the opening of A More Perfect Union, an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia case and the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to invalidate laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the United States. This decision affirms that our fundamental civil rights cannot be denied based on the classifications of race and that the American system, that although often flawed, is capable of correcting injustice.

Exhibiting artists explore the themes of interracial marriage and relationships and various aspects of interracial identity; an identity made possible at least in part by this Supreme Court decision.

Said Mildred Loving, “That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

East Meets West

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East Meets West is a collection of wonderful vignettes guaranteed to delight, enchant and amuse the audience.

Each vignette is a different story with its own message to share. The combination of short pieces offers both Asian and Western characters and ideas blended, and based upon experiences in both cultures, by Master Artist Hua Hua Zhang. The show is performed with Chinese traditional dance and with string puppets, hand puppets, and rod puppets.

East Meets West is a family-oriented production and has been performed at and acclaimed by audiences of all ages at numerous venues from schools, libraries and Chinese adoption organizations to such distinguished theaters as The Smithsonian Discovery Theater in Washington, D.C., Mum Puppet theatre in Philadelphia, PA, and The Children’s Museum in Boston, MA.

Recommended for ages 6 and up.

All proceeds will go towards supporting education at Asian Arts Initiative.

Find out more about the artist and the show here

Loving Blackness

Loving Blackness
Mequitta Ahuja, Elia Alba, Tomie Arai, Indrani Ashe, Sonia E. Barrett & Shannon Lewis, Kamal Badhey, Alexis Callender, Emily Chow Bluck & Aletheia Shin, Priyanka Dasgupta & Chad Marshall, Colette Fu, Geeta Gandbhir, Amanda Kemp, Leon Sun, Francis Wong & Michael Jamanis, Tracy Keza/Studio Revolt, Sarah Khan, Shaun Leonardo, Indrani Nayar-Gall, Meei Ling Ng, Tammy Nguyen, kate-hers RHEE, Dread Scott, Shahzia Sikander
Curated by Jaishri Abichandani

February 3 – April 21
Opening Reception: First Friday, February 3, 6 – 8 p.m.
Real Soul: A jazz and poetry performance – Sunday, February 5, 2 p.m.
Race, Motherhood, & Creativity: A conversation among artists – First Friday, March 3, 7 p.m.


Black and Asian communities have coexisted side by side across the world for centuries. Our history includes a shared experience of indentured servitude and slavery in the Caribbean islands, the co-mingling of Bengali’s and Afro-Latino’s in Harlem and on the streets of London that led to the Black and Asian arts movement in the eighties. It is fraught with tensions first inflamed by the horrors of colonialism and has now been transformed into a tangled web of inequities, when 3,000 Chinese supporters of Officer Liang faced off 15,000 Black Lives Matter protestors demanding justice for Akai Gurley on the streets of New York last year. This historic friction has provided opportunities for solidarity, and increasingly we are seeing Asian individuals and organizations coming out in support of Black Lives Matter while acknowledging our collective debt to the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement in gaining liberties.


Grounded in Asian Arts Initiative’s own history of being founded in response to racial tensions between Black and Asian communities, and prompted by ongoing instances of systemic injustice and anti-racism organizing efforts, over 20 artists explore moments of tension and solidarity between and among our communities through painting, photography, sculpture, and video.