Brooklyn non-profit organizes Asian Pacific Heritage Month events with goal to end hate
A Brooklyn non-profit has some special events in store for Asian Pacific Heritage Month, all while being a constant support system for Asian American artists and arts organizations year round.
For decades the Asian American Arts Alliance, or A4, has been helping Asian American artists.
"Asian Americans are vastly under represented ....there is a need to both for greater representation and for equity," says A4 executive director Lisa Gold.
She says what she calls the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and anti-Asian racism has made it much worse for those already struggling.
"A lot of artists dealing with the trauma of losing their jobs and incomes, but also being under siege just for the way that they look," Gold says.
To bring the community together and celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month, A4 has several events including an exhibition, virtual celebration and also other programs year round like a town hall.
"Such an empowering experience for me because you got to see so many different Asian artists see how they are talking about these cultural narratives or issues or social justice problems and converting them into their art," says Rohan Bhargava, who has his own dance company and also received the A4 Jadin Wong fellowship.
"Having a career coach and an artistic mentor, they really empowered me, so I think just having that support through A4 was so nice," Bhargava says.
He says he's been able to explore incorporating his upbringing with dance through this opportunity.
"Not to just show something and I wanted to make them feel something so that there is that shared empathy where you really understand history and the knowledge and the value in someone's culture in someone's art form," Bhargava says.
Bhargava hopes to celebrate his culture while also using dance to open eyes and put an end to hate.
Along with the fellowship, Bhargava received a $6,000 grant, a career coach, and artistic mentor.
He has used the help he's received to explore incorporating his culture into his work.