1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
United States

Asian Arts Initiative

Organization/Business type
Civic/Community Organization
Migrated automatically.
Creating community through the power of art

Connecting cultural expression and social change, Asian Arts Initiative uses art as a vehicle to explore the experiences of Asian Americans and the diverse communities of which we are a part.

Located in Philadelphia’s burgeoning Chinatown North neighborhood, Asian Arts Initiative is a multidisciplinary arts center offering exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, youth workshops, and a community gathering space. Here, all people — across experience and skill levels, age, race, and class backgrounds — can view and create art that reflects our lives, as well as think critically and creatively about the future we want to build for our communities.


Asian Arts Initiative is a community-based arts center in Philadelphia that engages artists and everyday people to create art that explores the diverse experiences of Asian Americans, addresses our social context, and  imagines and effects positive community change.

We are working toward a just and joyous world where all people, regardless of their racial and class backgrounds, are able to view and create art that reflects their lives and concerns.

Created in response to community concerns about racial tension, the Asian Arts Initiative began programming in May 1993 with Philadelphia’s first-ever Asian American Arts Festival: “Live Traditions/Contemporary Issues” at the Painted Bride Art Center. The Asian Arts Initiative has since become a community arts center that offers performances, exhibitions, workshops, and training for artists, youth and adults who share our commitment to community-based arts.

As one of the very few Asian American community arts centers in the country, the Asian Arts Initiative is a unique and vital civic space where artists and everyday people can think critically and creatively about the experiences of Asian Americans in Philadelphia.  We are a meeting place for people who lack access to mainstream media, education, and arts because of barriers of language, culture, race, and money.  We serve a diverse constituency of Asian immigrants, Asian Americans born in the U.S., and non-Asians who come together to give voice to our experiences, raise awareness of issues facing us, and imagine our collective possibilities for social change. 

The Asian Arts Initiative recently relocated to 12th and Vine Streets in Chinatown, where we are developing a multi-tenant arts facility that will incorporate individual artists studios and office and program space- including room for workshops and meetings, gallery and exhibition areas, and a black box-style theater.

The Asian Arts Initiative will leverage the opportunities provided by the new multi-tenant facility to serve as a space for arts-based civic dialogue and connections across people's histories and aspirations.  We will become a lab that nurtures and explores innovative models for Asian American and other artists working in tandem with communities, with a particular emphasis on building partnerships with the immediate Chinatown neighborhood.

Arts and Culture
History and Preservation
Global region