Gayle Isa, executive director of Asian Arts Initiative, on Pearl Street. Photo by Akira Suwa, courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
As an extension of its Pearl Street and Social Practice Lab programming, Asian Arts Initiative invites volunteers to work with Chinatown North and Callowhill residents and neighbors, in maintaining cleanliness in the Pearl Street alleyway.
Pearl Street, a Center-funded revitalization project centered around the under-used alley behind Asian Arts Initiative's building, is being spearheaded by Rick Lowe. Lowe's groundbreaking work with Houston's Project Row Houses has long served as a model for community-driven, participatory art. Starting this year, Lowe began working with residents in this rapidly gentrifying neighborhood to reimagine how the alley can be transformed into a place where locals of varying backgrounds spend time together. The project will be documented on an interactive website that will feature a digital timeline of Pearl Street's history as well as images and stories from nearby residents.
Social Practice Lab, started in 2011 with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, is Asian Arts Initiative's artist-in-residence program. The program aims to make Asian Arts a hub for socially engaged contemporary art. The series also builds upon Asian Arts' Chinatown In/Flux projects of 2006 and 2009, which brought work by professional artists to nearby restaurants, storefronts, and outdoor plazas.
Social Practice Lab artists will be present at this event. Asian Arts Initiative will provide supplies for cleaning, as well as beverages and snacks. After the cleaning is finished, there will be games and socializing.