Granted: Asian Women Giving Circle

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Definitely love getting these types of release because what's better than showcasing organizations in the community giving to other organizations?


A documentary film about Anna May Wong, an artists’ collaborative that hopes to launch the first-ever gay and lesbian-themed float in NYC Chinatown’s 2010 Lunar Year Parade, and large-scale installation about ‘comfort women’ during World War II are among the ten local non-profit Asian American women-led projects in New York City that received $70,000 in grants from the Asian Women Giving Circle (AWGC). These outstanding organizations and projects were chosen for their excellence in using the tools of culture, the arts and education to raise awareness and catalyze action around critical issues that impact Asian American communities. Grant checks will be distributed at a garden party at the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, during the evening of June 17th (media are invited).

In its four years of raising resources and philanthropists, the AWGC has raised and distributed $270,000 in New York City to thirty individual artists and community-based organizations. “Given the extraordinary economic circumstances of this year, we felt it is more important than ever to support Asian American artists and arts projects because they are under-represented as grant recipients,” said Hali Lee, founder of the Asian American Women Giving Circle. “Because so many of our grantees are experiencing intense difficulty with fundraising, we felt a special obligation to stretch our giving by making more grants, for slightly smaller amounts.”

Year 2009 Grant recipients are individual artists (with fiscal sponsorship) as well as community based organizations: Adhikaar, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Chang-Jin Lee, Esther Chae, New York Asian Women’s Center, Q-Wave, Rising Circle Theater Collective, Third World Newsreel and Yunah Hong.

More information about each project follows:

Adhikaar - Hamro Katha, Hamrai Aawaz “Our Stories, Our Own Voices”

Founded by four women in 2005, Adhikaar, which means rights in Nepali, is a New York-based women-led organization working with the Nepali speaking community to promote human rights and social justice. This project is a multi-media storytelling project for young women (ages 16-25) of Nepali descent. They will be mentored by two South Asian artist activists who will lead workshops in a variety of media to explore youth relevant themes, such as migration, home, gender, sexuality, race, love, family. For more information, please visit

Asian American Writers’ Workshop - Talk Story: Sharing Stories Across

GenerationsFounded in 1991, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop is the largest non-profit devoted to creating, publishing, developing and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans. Talk Story: Sharing Stories Across Generations is an oral history project pairing elderly and young Asian American women to share the stories of their lives. It aims to bridge inter-generational gaps as well as create a historical archive of personal narrative by Asian American women. The project will take place in Flushing, Queens and in Brooklyn’s Chinatown, and it will be led by women writers who reside in those neighborhoods. Stories will be recorded in bilingual self-made chapbooks, on the Workshop’s website and podcasting – for which the Workshop has approached Story Corps. For more information, please visit

The Center for Traditional Music & Dance - Chinese Women’s Music Initiative

The Center for Traditional Music & Dance is one of the nation’s pioneering music arts
organizations, dedicated to preserving and presenting the performing arts traditions of New York’s immigrant and ethnic communities since 1968. This Initiative will provide a forum for young women (ages 12-18) in New York’s Chinatown to meet and study with established female master musicians on selected Chinese instruments that are prestigious yet have not been traditionally accessible to women and girls. Weekly classes will culminate in a public performance of Chinese opera scenes, with all roles and instruments played by girls. For more
information, please visit

Chang-Jin Lee - Comfort Women Wanted

Chang-Jin Lee is a Korean-born visual artist who lives in NYC. Her large-scale public art project, “Homeland Security Garden” at the World Financial Center Winter Garden explored our political and psychological insecurity in the post 9-11 world. The grant will help Chang-Jin develop “Comfort Women Wanted,” a large-scale, interactive public artwork to be placed in a major transportation hub such as Grand Central Station. The piece aims to increase awareness of the 200,000 women who were sexually enslaved in Asia during World War II, connecting this historical atrocity to the continuing sexual exploitation and trafficking of Asian women today. For
more information, please visit

Esther Chae - So the Arrow Flies

With only a turn of the chair, Esther Chae portrays four strong women of Korean descent. This theatrical, one-woman show explores the ramifications of the War on Terror, identity, national pride and allegiance, through the lens of Asian women characters’ and their love for one another. Esther was selected as a TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference) Fellow this year for this play. She was mentored by Anna Deavere Smith at NYU. Esther
requests funds to premiere her play in NYC. For more information, please visit or

New York Asian Women’s Center – Workplace

Founded in 1982, the New York Asian Women’s Center helps battered Asian women to
overcome violence and govern their own lives, free of abuse. Workplace is an interactive multimedia installation based on the stories of Asian American women survivors of domestic violence – exploring how domestic violence affects women in the workplace. Collaborators include musicians and artists Woody Pak, Heather Greer and Liubo Borissov. The installation will simulate a workplace environment, including a telephone where visitors may leave their own stories or comments. For more information, please visit

Q-Wave - Lunar New Year for All

Q-Wave, founded in 2004, is dedicated to strengthening the voices of lesbian/ bisexual/ queer women and transgender/ gender variant people of Asian descent. This is a collaborative community art project championing LGBT equality at the 2010 Lunar New Year Parade in Manhattan’s Chinatown. The spectacle may incorporate a float, giant puppets, mobile murals, stiltwalkers, dancers and musicians. It will be designed in collaboration with local community organizations. Q-Wave will also host art and education workshops, hold a press conference and sponsor a Lunar New Year for All poster contest. For more information please visit www.q-

Rising Circle Theater Collective – Q Up

Rising Circle Theater Collective, founded in 2000, is led by theater artists of color committed to producing work that reflects the diversity of the world in which we live. Q Up is a pilot program aimed at Asian American high school girls in Queens. It is a four-day workshop with professional
Asian American women artists in which the girls will build skills and produce their own work. The workshops will take place in the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadow Park. For more information, please visit

Third World Newsreel - Asian Girls Empowerment Through Media

Third World Newsreel, founded in 1967, fosters alternative social, cultural and artistic visions in media, particularly visions by and about communities of color, marginalized communities and that address social justice issues. This project is a summer-fall workshop series for young Asian women (age 14-21) who will be trained in multimedia production while exploring media literacy and activism in the context of race, class and gender. The goal is to equip young Asian women with the ability to deconstruct the layers of mainstream media messages with which they are bombarded, while empowering them to create their own. The series will culminate in a public
screening at Anthology Film Archives and at the Newsreel’s 40th anniversary conference at Hunter. It will be included in the educational distribution that the Newsreel provides to thousands of schools and colleges nationwide. For more information, please visit

Yunah Hong - “Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words”

Yunah Hong is a Korean American documentary filmmaker. Her documentary film’s subject is Anna May Wong (1905-1961), a laundryman’s daughter who became an international moviestar, an activist and artist despite the limitations of the day. She achieved worldwide popularity in the 1920s and 30s. The grant will help Yunah distribute her film, launch a website, and implement an outreach program to schools and community groups. The Center for Asian American Media is helping Yunah prepare her film for a possible PBS broadcast, and will broadcast it via its own satellites to local stations. For more information, please contact

About the Asian Women Giving Circle

The Asian Women Giving Circle is a group of Asian American women pooling their money to fund other Asian women in NYC who use the tools of art to further a social equity goal. We work together to raise resources to support Asian American serving, Asian American women-led social change organizations in New York City’s under-served communities. We raise resources and philanthropists. AWGC is a donor advised fund of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (

Check out for more information and to support on up.