Located in Philadelphia’s Chinatown North neighborhood, Asian Arts Initiative (AAI) uses art as a vehicle to explore the experiences of Asian Americans and the diverse communities of which they are a part. A multidisciplinary art center and community gathering space, AAI offers exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, and youth workshops that connect cultural expression and social change.
With guest curator Aimee Chang and a national advisory committee of recognized artists, curators, and arts organizers—among them Edgar Arceneaux, Andrea Bowers, Nato Thompson, and Pepón Osorio—Asian Arts Initiative conducted planning for the launch of a new artist residency program called Social Practice Lab. Housed in the organization's then recently acquired 24,000-square-foot building in Philadelphia's Chinatown North neighborhood, 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. At the time of this project, guest curator Chang was at the Blanton Museum of Contemporary Art (Austin, TX); previously she had overseen public and residency programs at the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, CA).