The past and the present with Philly Asian Histories’

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Cambodian American Girls Empowering, or CAGE, will perform as part of the Neighborhood Showcase. (Photo by Tony Kruth.)
Cambodian American Girls Empowering, or CAGE, will perform as part of the Neighborhood Showcase. (Photo by Tony Kruth.)

The dual Philly Asian Histories performances combine art, culture, and cuisine to engage with Asian and Asian American experiences past and present. The idea for the twin events came up in a PAPA general body meeting when they received the offer to host an event in the Asian Arts Initiative building; a creative pillar of the community. “We wanted a chance for the artists to be inspired by the building and the space itself,” PAPA creative designer Cat Ramirez explains. “This is a place that feels like home for me and it’s such an important space for us all.”

Art Reflects Life

The first event is a living museum, available for public viewing on Friday, August 9, from 7 to 10pm and Saturday, August 10, from 2 to 5pm and 7 to 10pm at Asian Arts Initiative (AAI). It will take over all three stories of the AAI building and features eight live solo performances about Asians and Asian Americans in the Philadelphia area, each set in their own unique world and timeframe. Some of the artists came into the project already knowing what topic they would address, while others were inspired by PAPA interviews with members of the Asian community.

Guided tours will be offered at the top of the first two hours and feature four of the performances that happen to be starting at that time, as each performance piece has its own unique runtime. The artists, who created their museum work separately, will then have one week to use their museum pieces to inspire a new collaborative work to be presented at the Neighborhood Showcase.

Breaking Bread

Presented by AAI’s Shared Spaces 共享空間 Program, the Neighborhood Showcase takes place on Saturday, August 17, from 5 to 8pm at AAI. It features the performance by the living-museum artists, as well as other Shared Spaces Program participants; the Philadelphia Chinese Opera Society, KIDZ Band, CAGE (Cambodian American Girls Empowering), Muyu Ruba, and L8NITE. The event closes with a community meal, where audience members can discuss the museum and showcase with the artists over food and drink.

What, Where, and When:

The Living Museum takes place on Friday, August 9, from 7 to 10pm and Saturday, August 10, from 2 to 5pm and 7 to 10pm. Tickets for museum tours and general admission can be found here, and are priced on a sliding scale from $10 to $30, though no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

The Neighborhood Showcase is a free event but attendees are encouraged to register here. It takes place on Saturday, August 17, from 5 to 8pm. Both events are at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street.

Asian Arts Initiative is a mobility accessible facility, with access to all public floors and spaces, seating accommodations for programmed events. Nongendered and individual restrooms are available on each floor.

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