Wednesday, March 22, 2006

AAI Memory Trees


For those not aware of the situation which faces the Asian Arts Initiative in the next couple of months, because the Pennsylvania Convention Center is planning to expand its facilities, AAI and other community arts organizations on Cherry Street in Philly are being forced to give up their space and find a new location. After being in this space for the past nine years, AAI will have to relocate during the summer.

A few weeks ago, I led a GenerAsian Next workshop at AAI. The workshop facilitator, Gary San Angel, asked me if I could have the youth explore the topic of AAI's forced relocation and help them find a connection to honoring the past and remembering personal histories. One of the exercises I had them do was an AAI Memory Tree--sort of like a Family Tree but, obviously, thinking about and documenting their lives in AAI's space and the impact it's had on them personally, artistically, politically, socially. The youth did an amazing job, and I'd like to share some pics which highlight the details of their memories-as-testimony, showing the indelible imprint AAI's Cherry Street space has had on so many APIA artists over the years. We're going to miss it.