May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, where we celebrate the contributions and influence that Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans have had on our country’s history, culture, and achievements.
New York City is home to the second-largest AAPI population in the United States, and these communities account for many of the City’s vibrant, thought-provoking and culturally rich art institutions that are offering new in-person exhibitions and virtual programming.
“New York City’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities are integral to the diverse fabric of our great city and the many vibrant neighborhoods that make up the five boroughs,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company. “We stand in solidarity with these communities as NYC continues to recover from the pandemic, and we encourage New Yorkers and visitors to explore these fantastic cultural institutions during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and all year-round.”
Below is a selection of nine of the City’s many AAPI cultural institutions to check out, this month and beyond:
Through June 27, the Asia Society and Museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is home to We Do Not Dream Alone, the first-ever Asia Society Triennial. The festival features works, panel discussions and performances from approximately 40 artists at the Asia Society, the Park Avenue Malls at East 70th Street, Times Square Arts and the New-York Historical Society.
The Asia Society has also partnered with the New-York Historical Society for an exhibition called Dreaming Together, on view through July 25. The exhibition weaves together more than 35 historical American artworks and contemporary Asian American works of art. The Historical Society also supports The Yellow Whistle initiative by giving out free whistles to those that visit the exhibit, a symbol of solidarity and protection in the wake of anti-Asian violence in America.
Founded in 1926 to educate people about China through arts, culture, business, and education, China Institute hosts panel discussions including an upcoming panel on what fuels Anti-Asian hate in the United States, as well as a recurring cultural series to learn and practice Mandarin. The Institute also offers art and music courses for children and adults, such as how to play the seven-string guqin. Currently, programming is exclusively online, with in-person exhibitions planned to begin in fall 2022.
Featuring a 308-seat theater, gallery, classroom and rehearsal space, Flushing Town Hall is an integral part of the arts community in Queens. Current virtual programming includes live demonstrations and lessons in traditional Chinese and Korean dance, kimono culture, Chinese folk music and Chinese folktales, as well as an upcoming online screening of animated shorts by Asian and Asian American artists.
A completely volunteer-run non-profit, The India Center promotes traditional Indian arts in New York City, hosting dialogues, exhibitions, and programs that educate audiences about Indian culture, the Indian American experience and the relationship between India and the U.S. During the pandemic, The India Center partnered with a dance instructor in Qatar to host virtual performances of traditional folk dances from various regions of India. This month, the organization is offering the 14th annual Natraj Folk Arts Festival online.
Staten Island’s Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art features more than 1,000 sculptures, musical instruments and other objects from Tibet, Nepal, northern China, Mongolia and Southeast Asia, collected by founder Jacques Marchais throughout her life. The museum grounds and buildings that Marchais designed are modeled after the Potala in Lhasa (the seat of the Dalai Lamas) and a Himalayan monastery, and are surrounded by a meditation garden and pond with goldfish and lotuses. In addition to Marchais’ collection, the Museum hosts guided meditation and tai chi classes.
Located in Southeast Queens, the Jamaica Center is an arts and educational center offering programs to more than 50,000 people of all ages, as well as free and low-cost after-school and summer programs. Currently JCAL has partnered with the South Asian Womxn’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) to present the exhibit Encounters, in which 14 South Asian women artists explore their shared histories while working toward an equitable future. The exhibit is on display through May 15.
Japan Society opened in 1907, spurring a cultural exchange between Japan and the United States. On view through July 11 is the first exhibit since the cultural institution reopened its doors to visitors in Midtown East across from the United Nations, titled When Practice Becomes Form: Carpentry Tools from Japan. The experience celebrates Japanese architecture and carpentry and the role various tools play in these crafts.
The largest research center of Chinese American artifacts in the United States, the Museum of Chinese in America has been offering virtual programming and sidewalk installations throughout the pandemic. In the museum’s windows along Center and Lafayette Streets is a series of exhibits examining anti-Asian racism amid the Covid-19 pandemic and exploring Chinatown’s history. This month, they are offering virtual meet and greets with children’s book authors, including the award-winning Julie Leung.
The Rubin Museum of Art displays art from the Himalayan regions in its permanent collection, alongside rotating exhibits of works from across all Asian regions and cultures. When visiting the museum in Chelsea, visitors should be sure to check out Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey of Enlightenment. The exhibit features 37 artworks that span the past 1,400 years, presenting the Tibetan Buddhist path to enlightenment.
NYC & Company has also put together a resource, Support for NYC’s Asian Community, which offers New Yorkers and visitors educational tools, neighborhood itineraries and additional ways to support the AAPI community at this time. Additional content will launch on nycgo.com throughout the year.
New Yorkers and visitors are asked to wear masks, practice social distancing and frequently wash and sanitize their hands, as outlined in NYC & Company’s Stay Well Pledge. Guests are reminded to check with individual businesses for current operating status and hours, as well as health and safety protocols, prior to visiting.
For more to see and do across New York City’s five boroughs during AAPI Heritage Month and all year-round, visit nycgo.com.
About NYC & Company:
NYC & Company is the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. For all there is to do and see in New York City, visit nycgo.com.
By NYC & Company Global Communications Staff.