The anchor of this project is the series of community engagements and co-creation process with the populations of Asian Americans from the North Callowhill/Chinatown area, students and staff from the Community College of Philadelphia, civic institutions, Black and Indigenous residents and stakeholders in the region who are working for a movement to connect land to sky and bring healing to earth and inhabitants along the way. In collaborating with major local community stakeholders (educational, ecological, cultural and infrastructural partners), we let the collaborative process guide the strategies for positive change in our communities that ultimately leads to a meaningful artistic expression.
Throughout the project, we are conducting an interview series with selected members of Philadelphia's activist, civic, and grower communities. The interviews spotlight individuals who engage in the arts, urban gardening, community organizing, and climate justice. Through personal narratives, they explain their current community-centered projects and speculate on the future climate. Below is a list of some of the interviewees. For more updates, visit AAI’s social media.
Margery Cedeno, Potter/Avatar
Debora Charmelus, Producer & Strategist
Laquanda Dobson, Chef
Zakia Elliott, Organizer, Soil Generation
Andrea Ferreira, Epidemiologista | Doutora em Saúde Pública
Michael Moran, Secretary of Iglesias Gardens
Nicky Uy, Co-Founder of Bahay 215
Two community dinner events were held as part of the community engagement process. During both events, community members came together to share a meal and stories around the topic of Invasive Species. The Fall Dinner fostered intimate conversations about personal migrations and plant cultivation. The Spring Dinner, entitled Displaced But Rooted, featured curated food offerings by Chef Laquanda Dobson, centered around the Invasive Species conversation. At this event, eo Studio set up a digital storybooth, enabling visitors to self-record their stories, of which selections are included in the Agboro installation and projection mapping pieces.
- Community College of Philadelphia
- Council President Darrell Clarke
- Councilmember Mark Squilla
- Free Library of Philadelphia
- Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park
- Logan Square Neighborhood Association
- Office of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy
- Philadelphia Department of Streets
- Philadelphia Office of Special Events
- Philadelphia Parks and Recreation
- The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
- The Rail Park
Invasive Species: Eco/Systems Land Based Initiatives is funded by: Our Town Grant of the National Endowment for the Arts William Penn Foundation PNC Arts Alive
Our Town projects advance local economic, physical, or social outcomes in communities, ultimately laying the groundwork for systems change and centering equity. These projects require a partnership between a nonprofit organization and a local government entity, with one of the partners being a cultural organization.
Asian Arts Initiative is pleased to partner with The Rail Park, SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia to present Invasive Species: Eco/Systems Land Based Initiatives in 2023.