The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

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The W.O.W. Project

Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

About the Annual Report and The W.O.W. Project The W.O.W. Project is a women, non-binary, queer, trans led, communitybased initiative that works to sustain ownership over Chinatown’s future by growing, protecting and preserving Chinatown’s creative culture through arts, culture and activism. With the future of Chinatown threatened by displacement, it will take community solidarity and resistance to mitigate the powerful forces of gentrification. Our core mission is to create space for conversations that cross generational gaps to seed intergenerational understanding. The W.O.W. Project envisions the future of Chinatown that centers young women and nonbinary youth in building intergenerational bridges of understanding, collective empowerment, and solidarity. This annual report documents the W.O.W. Project’s fourth program year, which ran from July 2019 – July 2020. It contains insights and highlights from programs organized and held by the team over the past year, including our year-round and summer internship programs, youth program Resist Recycle Regenerate, 店面 Storefront and Makers Residencies, and public

programs. This report also shares notable figures and statistics from the W.O.W. Project’s fourth year, as well as the project’s vision moving forward.

© 2021 The W.O.W. Project All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any manner without written permission of the copyright owner.

Table of Contents Message from the Founder and Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 The W.O.W. Project Organization Chart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 About The W.O.W. Project’s Board of Directors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 The W.O.W. Project’s 4th Year by the Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 店面 Storefront Residency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Internship Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Maker’s Residency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Resist Recycle Regenerate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Grassroots Fundraising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Special Programs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Looking Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Special Thanks and How to Get Involved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

Message from the Founder and Director

Our 2019-2020 program year ended our in-person programming during Chinatown’s most festive time of the year. For the rest of 2020, I looked back at our Lunar New Year photos as a reminder of what community care and joy looked like. This year was the toughest for our Chinatown community. When it felt like we were all just trying to make ends meet, and stay safe and healthy with our loved ones in the thick of the pandemic, The W.O.W. Project team went into deep reflection about the role that art can play in a time of crises. We found strength in waging love. In response, we launched our Love Letters to Chinatown Project, collecting over 100 letters for our neighborhood and its mainstays and institutions. We posted the letters around the neighborhood on shuttered gates, lampposts and doors, reminding each other of the care, joy, and resilience our Chinatown community embodies. We acknowledged our interconnected struggles as a local place based initiative in Chinatown with the national Black Lives Matter uprisings. Our 4 year anniversary marked the first time we grassroots fundraised over $30K (a new record!) some of which was donated to Chinatown Youth Initiatives and Communities United For Police Reform in support of Chinatown’s resiliency in the wake of COVID-19 and the fight for community safety and police accountability. This year has taught us more than ever that care and healing, especially in community, is key to a pathway to our collective liberation. I am so inspired and excited to see where year 5 will take us. The W.O.W. Project team continually shows me that as long as we’re moving at the speed of love, trust, and community building we will build a future where we are all free.

Mei Lum Founder and Director of the W.O.W. Project

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


W.O.W. Project Organizational Chart


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

ABOUT THE W.O.W. PROJECT’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS This year we established our Board of Directors as part of The W.O.W. Project’s process of formalizing as a 501c3 nonprofit organization. We were thrilled to welcome back two of W.O.W.’s previous youth leaders, Emily (Em) He and Jade Levine, as well as Dr. Diane Wong, who was so central to The W.O.W. Project’s founding, to be part of our founding board of directors. The Board is working with a team of pro bono lawyers as part of a Fordham Law School Clinic to fulfill our IRS 1023 Long Form registration as well as building an onboarding process for our first board recruitment cycle in 2021. Em, Jade, Diane, and Mei are committed to creating a board culture that is true to our grassroots spirit, ensuring that the Board of Directors are directly involved with WOW’s work on the ground in the heart of Chinatown. Em He is a trans/non-binary Cantonese community organizer and former W.O.W. Project Managing Intern. Their roots are in intergenerational diasporic communities organizing against displacement and have found home with trans/ queer people of color on the journey of decolonization and transformative healing. They grew up on unceded Coast Salish lands and now live on occupied Lenape/Canarsie land and organize with public housing residents as CAAAV’s Asian Tenants Union Chinese Membership Organizer.

Em He (they/them/theirs)

Jade Levine is a writer, zine-maker, and former W.O.W. Project intern. Her undergraduate studies in urban sociology and her experience working around issues of arts and activism through zine-making and the Girls Rock Camp movement brought her to the W.O.W. Project while she was in college. By day, she works in higher education.

Jade Levine (she/they)

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


About The W.O.W. Project’s Board of Directors

Diane Wong is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, Newark. She writes and teaches at the intersection of Asian American politics, critical urban studies, race and ethnicity, cultural and media studies, and community rooted research. As a first-generation Chinese American born and raised in Flushing, Queens, her research is intimately tied to the Asian diaspora and urban immigrant experience. Her work has appeared in Women’s Studies Quarterly, Amerasia Journal, Urban Affairs Review and a variety of book volumes, journals, anthologies, podcasts, and exhibitions. Her current book project, You Can’t Evict A Movement: Housing Justice and Intergenerational Activism in New York City, documents intergenerational resistance to gentrification in Manhattan Chinatown.

Diane Wong (she/her/hers)

Mei is the 5th generation owner of Wing on Wo and the founder and director of The W.O.W. Project. Mei has grown as a cultural worker and community leader alongside the W.O.W. Project since its beginnings in 2016, receiving recognition as a 2017 emerging voice in the APA community by NBC Asian America, the 2019 Community Builder Award from OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates, and was recently awarded the 2020 Rubinger Fellowship from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Mei Lum (she/her/hers)

About The W.O.W. Project’s Board of Directors


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Fiscal Year 2020

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Total Fundraising Growth (2017–2020) Year 1: Fiscal Year 2017


Year 2: Fiscal Year 2018

552% increase


Year 3: Fiscal Year 2019

276% increase


Year 4: Fiscal Year 2020

113% increase


Fundraising by Type (2017–2020) Donations

Ticket Sales




47% 32%

Year 1: Fiscal Year 2017

Year 2: Fiscal Year 2018



24% 2%

Year 3: Fiscal Year 2019

72% 25% 3%

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Year 4: Fiscal Year 2020


The W.O.W. Project’s 4th Year by the Numbers

RRR fellows perform during the W.O.W. the Crowd Street battle (Photo by Marion Aguas)

We are inspired to rethink the ways we fundraise with and for the community and how to align our fundraising strategies with our ideals of sustainability, people power, and social justice. We hope to create a model for future fundraisers, deepen our relationship to our community, and build our own skills as a team.

The W.O.W. Project Programs Team

The W.O.W. Project’s 4th Year by the Numbers


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

店面 Storefront Residency

About the 店面 Storefront Residency The W.O.W. Project provides a 6-month artist residency opportunity for an emerging Asian American artist at the oldest operating store in Manhattan’s Chinatown. The artist-in-residence is invited to create a final storefront window installation by and for the community in celebration of the Lunar New Year. During The W.O.W.’s Project fourth 店面 Residency, artist-in-residence Singha Hon held a series of workshops called Changing Faces, centered around self-portraiture and making images that allow participants to ask the following questions: who are you and who am I? How am I seen and how would I like to be seen? What does it mean to change faces to survive? What does it mean to change faces to thrive and find peace?

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


店面 Storefront Residency

店面Storefront Residency Team

Left to right: Clara Lu, Singha Hon, and Mei Lum at the Storefront Residency opening (photo by Marion Aguas)

About Singha Hon Singha Hon (韩星霞) is a mixed-race artist and illustrator born and raised in New York City, with roots in Pennsylvania and NYC’s Chinatown. Singha has studied painting, costuming, and theatre at Bates College in Lewiston and at Central Saint Martins in London. She is one of the founding illustrators for Womanly Magazine, an organization that provides accessible health information to women and nonbinary people through visual and literary art. As a painter and illustrator, she creates work aimed at exploring inner thoughts and private experiences, combining small details of everyday life with images inspired by mythology and animal archetypes, weaving together the universal and the personal.

店面 Storefront Residency


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020



OCT 2019

Residency Begins: Changing Faces portrait workshops begin

Mask and Portrait Workshops at Columbus Park

NOV 2019

Open Portrait Workshop Sessions

JAN 2020

DEC 2019

FEB 2020

MARCH 2020

Opera Mask Workshop with Bob Lee Storefront Residency Opening

Chinese Opera Workshop with Mee Mee Chin

Artist Talk with Alison Kuo

Pandemic shutdown + Residency Workshops Put on Pause

2019-20 店面 Storefront Residency Accomplishments

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


店面 Storefront Residency

REFLECTION BY 店面 STOREFRONT RESIDENCY MANAGER Working with Singha on her residency

performer MeeMee Chin to share with

“Changing Faces” in the Year of

workshop participants how identity–

the Rat was a great space for me

and gender in particular–is performed

to continue the exploration of how

in the context of Chinese Opera. In

we perform our different identities

helping Singha and MeeMee facilitate

in different environments. Singha

their workshops, I experienced how

brought so many opportunities for

together, we can explore our different

reflection and learning, and I’m so

truths through a particular lens and

grateful to Singha for stewarding

theme. That’s what is so exciting to

a safe space with such care and

me about each residency and artist-

intention. A highlight for me was

in-residence - they make space for

when we invited Chinese Opera

collective exploration.

Clara Lu Residency Manager

Bottom: Singha Hon, Mee Mee Chin, Alison Kuo, and Clara Lu during Singha’s Artist Talk (photo by Marion Aguas) 店面 Storefront Residency


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


店面 Storefront Residency

My residency Changing Faces came about out of a desire to explore creative practices of self perception and engage with the following questions: How am I seen, and how would I like to be seen? What does it mean to change faces to survive?

of safety and precaution, but the concept of identity and self perception remains prescient. Throughout the residency I was able to have many precious experiences, including portrait drawing in Columbus Park on a warm sunny weekend as well as connecting with other artists within the W.O.W. community to collaborate on workshops exploring the living legacy of Nuo Opera, Tao Teh Masks, and Peking and Cantonese opera. I am so grateful for the residency, for the workshop participants and W.O.W. community who generously shared their time, feelings, and creations, and space.

Through a series of portraiture and mask making workshops in the W.O.W. space and Columbus Park, I aimed to explore these questions of identity both for myself and workshop participants. Physically creating masks allowed me to explore self-perception and gaze, understanding how physical and emotional masks can protect and project the things we wish to see in ourselves. Since then and in light of the pandemic, mask making and wearing has shifted into a direct practice

Singha Hon 4th 店面 Storefront Artist-in-Residence

Singha Hon hosts a portrait session in Columbus Park (photo by Marion Aguas)

Em He sits with Singha Hon as she draws in Columbus Park surrounded by onlookers (photo by Marion Aguas)

店面 Storefront Residency


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Clockwise from top: Singha Hon and her family during her residency opening, Mei Lum holds a mask, Singha Hon performs as a part of her residency opening (Photos by Marion Aguas) The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


店面 Storefront Residency

Clockwise from top left: Close up of Singha Hon’s window installation, Close up of masks hanging in the W.O.W. storefront window installation, Bob Lee co-leads a mask-making workshop with Singha in the W.O.W. studio (Photos by Marion Aguas) 店面 Storefront Residency


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Hearing Bob share his wisdom and knowledge around Tao Teh masks, their appearance in the Chinatown community (e.g. his wife’s dance performances), and the thriving arts movements like Basement Workshop Collective led by Bob and other community leaders highlighted the importance of uplifting the work of our elders and their stories. I really appreciated the way Singha built on this historical knowledge to bring forth her own interpretation of mask-making and the roles different “masks” or identities play in the current times. It’s workshops like this one that repeatedly demonstrate the importance of W.O.W. as an intimate community and cultural space that welcomes all generations to gather in learning.

Monica Chen, workshop participant

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


店面 Storefront Residency

Participant paints a mask at during a workshop (Photo by Marion Aguas)

Participants hold their final projects during a workshop (Photo by Marion Aguas)

Special thanks to: Our jury

Visiting Curators

Evan Louis Ryan Wong Juliet Phillips Lorraine Lum Gary Lum Tomie Arai Vincent Chong Clara Lu

Eugenie Tsai Tomie Arai Lena Sze

The Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020 店面W.O.W. Storefront Residency


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Internship Program

About the Internship Program W.O.W.’s internship program provides young people the opportunity to explore and learn about the link between arts and activism, Asian American identity and history, and community-based organizing. During the program, interns work with W.O.W.’s public programs team to gain first hand knowledge on grassroots cultural organizing. The year round interns started the year with weekly orientation meetings to ground themselves in the W.O.W. and Chinatown community before supporting W.O.W.’s second Lunar New Year Celebration and Fundraiser, as well as various public programs and artist talks throughout the fall. In 2019 and 2020, the summer internship brought on a remote cohort of three interns who helped spearhead W.O.W.’s transition from in-person programming to digital programming. They stewarded W.O.W.’s virtual anniversary programming and fundraiser, coordinated the Love Letters to Chinatown project, and contributed to internal work that allowed W.O.W. to adapt to an online audience and a rapidly changing context.

2019-20 Internship Program Accomplishments

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


The time and space shared and created through this work was deeply nourishing, engaging, and was such a supportive site of community that made a world of difference in how I navigated this summer. Getting to spend time connecting with the WOW Team and WOW’s work was energizing in a way that keeps me falling in love with the places and people that constitute home, and building faith in the change that is being manifested.” Joy Freund 2020 Summer Intern

Growing up, I never really thought about Chinatown as a political or activist space. My experiences of Chinatown were mostly filtered through my parents’ and grandparents’ histories in the neighborhood. I still feel incredibly, ridiculously lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of the W.O.W. Project, an initiative situated less than five minutes away from my home. I think that I’ve been looking for something like W.O.W. for a long time now without realizing it...The W.O.W. Project has taught me so much about the work that goes into place-based grassroots organizing and I am continually inspired by the dedication, creativity, and insight of everyone that I have been lucky enough to work alongside.” Alicia Kwok 2019 Summer Intern

Internship Program


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Year-Long Interns

Sony Rai (she/her/hers)

Connor Cai (they/them/theirs)

Summer Interns

Yuki Haraguchi

Emma Tse

Alicia Kwok

(she/her/hers) 2019 Managing Summer Intern

(she/her/hers) 2019 Summer Intern

(she/her/hers) 2019 Summer Intern

Bonnie Chen

Nisma Saadaoui

(she/her/hers) 2020 Summer Intern

(she/her/hers) 2020 Summer Intern

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Joy Freund

Kristin Chang

(she/her/hers) 2020 Summer Intern

(she/her/hers) 2020 Program Manager

Internship Program

Seeing everyone uplift each other and give space for varying emotions was very touching and grounding...Every occasion where food was involved I am also grateful for. I know I was never alone in these moments.” Sony Rai, 2020 Year-Long Intern

Clockwise from top left: Fanny Li, Em He, Yuki Haraguchi, Jade Levine, Alicia Kwok, and Emma Tse pose during W.O.W.’s 3 Year Anniversary celebration (Photo by Yellow Jacket Collective), Screenshot of zoom call with 2020 intern team, Yuki, and Kristin (Photo by Yuki Haraguchi), W.O.W. youth at W.O.W. the Crowd street battle (Photo by Marion Aguas) Internship The W.O.W. Program Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Makers Residency

About the Makers Residency The W.O.W. Makers Residency was a 3-month long opportunity from April 1, 2019 - June 30, 2019 for a maker to refurbish 50+ year old shipping crate wood into a functional object for Chinatown residents. The maker’s design was used to teach woodworking workshops to community members throughout the residency and concluded with a final showcase exhibiting works from both the maker-in-residence and the community, honoring the journey, the raw material made from Hong Kong to New York City and celebrating its new functionality. Young people from Chinatown Youth Initiatives took part in a series of woodworking workshops as part of our Makers Residency with artist in residence Heidi Ratanavanich and Gary Lum. Participants learned basic woodworking skills and built a convertible shelf/table out of our 50 year old shipping crate wood. Together with Heidi, workshop participants unveiled their final projects during their showcase on October 26th.

This program was made possible by the generous support from:

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Makers Residency Team

Gary Lum and Heidi Ratanavanich in W.O.W.’s basement workshop (Photo by Mei Lum)

About Heidi Ratanavanich Heidi Ratanavanich is a visual artist and educator born in the Year of the Dog dog. Based in Philadelphia since 2013 with deep feels to Chicago and Thailand. Heidi’s work uses a range of digital and analog media— particularly woodworking, printed matter, broadcasting and public/private gatherings— to inquire upon the politics of place and space. Heidi is specifically interested in the intersection of food sovereignty, ecology and economy. You can find them these days collaborating on FORTUNE and showing up at community driven projects in Philadelphia.

About Gary Lum Gary Lum has over 50 years of woodworking experience since he began learning in his high school woodshop. He is thrilled to be coming full circle through the Makers residency by sharing his knowledge with Chinatown youth.

Makers Residency


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


project changing actually felt more

the W.O.W. woodshop studio [being

aligned with the W.O.W. Project itself.

remote, from Philadelphia]. These

This metaphor became clear to me.

visits were: connecting and learning

The crates, like the shop, were going

about W.O.W. family, setting up tools

through a transition into a new space,

and machines for the space, helping

a new thing. Bringing in new material,

on projects when I was around, and

new support would continue its life.

spending time experimenting with the old crate wood. The residency brought

Wrapping my head around this

me closer to the material and overall

transition – that changes can be

project each time.

helpful and lead to new ideas that are just as strong as the initial idea was a

Heidi Ratanavanich Makers Residency Artist in Residence

The project I proposed shifted while I

game changer. I continue to learn how

was working with the crates. As I got

to pivot and move from one idea to

to know these aged crates, I had to

another. This was also made possible

accept that the material on its own

through numerous conversations with

would not be enough for my original

W.O.W. folks (Mei and Gary) and also

concept. I would have to introduce

with my partner, Connie. With this

new material to reinforce the design

support from them, I felt I could do it.

of a modular furniture – side table

I am grateful.

to shelf system. I realized that the

Left to right: Sophia Chok, Emily Wen, and Heidi Ratanavanich at the Maker’s Residency showcase, Kai Huie holds her final project with her dad (Photos by Marion Aguas) The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Makers Residency

Chinatown Youth Initiative participants and Heidi Ratanavich during a workshop (Photo by Mei Lum)

Arriving at W.O.W., I was welcomed warmly, introduced to other youths of Chinatown, and began learning the craft of woodworking from Heidi and Gary. Although our time was limited, the experience taught me that art wasn’t just about the craft and creation, but also the ability to bring people together and share stories. Each conversation I had, while learning woodworking, taught me something new and expanded my understanding of the world. With this realization, I continued my journey to understand art and Chinatown by applying for the Resist, Recycle, and Regenerate Fellowship this past year. Without the workshop, I would never have known about such an impactful program that continues to positively shape and impact the community.

Sophia, workshop participant

Makers Residency


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

REFLECTION BY GARY LUM The call for residency applicants did not disappoint. So many talented creatives came out to propose engaging programs for W.O.W. workshops. We are grateful for the responsiveness by everyone. Our

Our collective goal is to keep the creative spirit in each of us alive and thriving.

collective goal is to keep the creative

The workshop was abuzz with

spirit in each of us alive and thriving.

quiet, focused excitement; sawing, drilling, nailing, sanding, staining and

Gary Lum Makers Residency Mentor

Our resident artist Heidi was a kind,

stenciling. Safety was key, awareness

compassionate and patient instructor

of surroundings and help was always

and woodworker. She guided our

a step away. The collaboration and

participants, some novice and others

project completion was satisfying

with limited experience, with grace. All

and celebrated. What was especially

engaged in a meaningful, respectful

notable was how each builder was

way, creating with W.O.W. crate

supported and trusted the process

panels. Some built tabletop standing

of making; open to learning, doing

shelf units, others added a convertible

and getting it done. This undoubtedly

end table with legs.

carries forward to the next exploration and foray into creating. Build on!

Gary Lum mentors workshop participants (photo by Mei Lum)

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Makers Residency

Clockwise from top: Mei Lum, Heidi Ratanavanich, and CYI participants at the Maker’s Residency showcase, Mei and Gary Lum at the Maker’s Residency showcase, Final project made by Sophia Chok (Photos by Marion Aguas) Makers Residency


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Resist Recycle Regenerate (RRR)

About Resist Recycle Regenerate (RRR) Resist Recycle Regenerate is a youth program that seeks to intersect art and activism through building women, non binary, and trans-centric leadership within the Chinatown community. RRR’s youth mentorship program model promotes young women and non binary youth as leaders and role models to inspire growth and leadership development in their peers through artmaking. Former fellows can become program leaders, mentoring and guiding the next cohort of younger fellows.

and programming skills by leading kitemaking community workshops with CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities and a sign making workshop in collaboration with Q-Wave for their Lunar New Year for All campaign. The fellows got first hand experience in grassroots cultural organizing by participating in a protest/action led by Chinatown Art Brigade and delivered a statement condemning Museum of Chinese in America’s jail concession deal.

The program was organized into three main phases: in the first phase, fellows reclaim cultural practices and build artmaking practices in a women and non binary space. Former fellows taught the cohort how to make paper out of recycled confetti collected during the annual Lunar New Year Parade. Guest artists led workshops on various artmaking skills the fellows would use throughout the program. The first phase ended with the fellow’s collaborative team building project: a paper sculpture lion head.

RRR’s youth mentorship program model promotes young women and non binary youth as leaders and role models to inspire growth and leadership development in their peers through artmaking. Former fellows can become program leaders, mentoring and guiding the next cohort of younger fellows.

Under the guidance of the program’s teaching artist, Emily Chow Bluck, the fellows completed their collaborative project and began the second phase of the program by performing in our Lunar New Year W.O.W. the Crowd Street Battle. The fellows developed their facilitation

The third phase of the program synthesized the skills, experiences, and interests that had been fostered throughout the year. Leaders and coordinators continued their growth and development alongside the fellows by participating in a writing workshop led by Huiying B. Dandelion,

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


RRR cohort craft lion head in the W.O.W. studio space (Photo by Ja Bulsombut)

exploring themes of identity, imagination, and storytelling. Program leaders guided the cohort through the process of creating final projects that incorporated the handmade confetti paper and applied the artmaking skills learned during the first phase of the program. Fellows’ projects engaged with themes of personal and collective migration stories, Chinatown history, daughterhood, and diasporic belonging. Fellows had the opportunity to share and discuss their projects with the community during their virtual showcase “Daughters of the Diaspora” . Experimenting with digital platforms and collective storytelling, these web-based projects explored and reimagined what it means to be part of a diaspora in a time of The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

isolation. By weaving together collective Asian/American histories, personal migration stories, and research about communal and cultural practices, the RRR fellows fostered a women-centered digital space to share their experiences with the program and their exploration of Asian/American selfhood and identity.

This program was made possible by the generous support from:


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

RRR Cohort & Leadership Team

Polaroids of RRRs 2019 - 2020 leadership and staff in front of Wing On Wo & Co.


Resist Recycle Regenerate

Resist The W.O.W. RecycleProject Regenerate Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


W.O.W. Project Annual Report Program Year 2019




Onboarding and Grounding Fellows in Chinatown History

FEB 2020

LNY Parade + Learning Lion Dance + Community Lantern-making

OCT 2019

Art + Activism, Artist Workshops

JAN 2020

LNY Parade Prep

MARCH 2020

APRIL 2020

Final Project ideation, shift to virtual workshops

Final Projects Continue

NOV 2019

Artist Workshops Continue, Lion Head Construction Begins

DEC 2019

Lunar New Year (LNY) Paper Mache Lion Build

MAY 2020

Final Project Work Time, RRR Showcase

2019-20 RRR Program Accomplishments

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Resist Recycle Regenerate

REFLECTION BY RRR TEACHING ARTIST My first year as teaching artist for

unique opportunity for me to craft a

Resist, Recycle, Regenerate proved to

curriculum that contained a balance of

be a most memorable experience. I

teaching both conventional rigor and

joined RRR in 2019 in an effort to find


more rootedness in the community

Emily Chow Bluck (they/them/theirs) RRR Teaching Artist

and cultural life of Chinatown. As an

I loved how the act of creating the lion

artist and educator with a socially

head required and actively supported

engaged practice and commitment to

not only the cultivation of individual

community organizing and leadership

creativity and technique acquisition,

development within Asian diasporic

but also aptitude for group work, skill

and multiracial communities I was

sharing, delegation, collaboration,

drawn to W.O.W.’s and RRR’s missions

storytelling, and collective decision-

like a plant’s leaves are compelled

making. Nothing was more exciting

towards the sun.

than when a fellow learned how to shape simple reeds into a three

Some of my favorite moments of RRR

dimensional sculptural form or when

were by far the days when the fellows

the group took the fruits of their

and I worked on the Lunar New Year

labor and danced with the lion head

lion head project. RRR, and specifically

at the Lunar New Year Street Battle

the lion head project, provided a



huiying b. chan (he/him/his) Guest RRR Facilitator Resist Recycle Regenerate

We Create Our Own Light was a 5-week

Gumbs to reflect on our internal

class that began at the start of the

power, and also explore the ways

pandemic. I had planned a workshop

our cultural and intergenerational

series for RRR leaders who were

upbringings both held power, and also

looking for the space and time to

kept us from actualizing our fullest

nurture and nourish themselves in

selves. We ended our class with a final

the midst of all they were doing for

reading where participants showcased

others. I created the sessions based

their poems, brimming with the stories

on themes from unearthing our

from their lives, with an intimate

power within ancestral connection

audience. Looking back, I feel proud

and imagining the liberated futures

of how we were able to create deeper

we want for ourselves and our

understandings of ourselves through

communities. I used poetry and

writing, in relation to each other, and

speculative fiction of BIPOC writers

the work we are doing in the world.

like Audre Lorde and Alexis Pauline


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Reflections By The

Stepping into a coordinator role was definitely exciting. I think I had a lot of expectations of how I wanted the program to go [but] a big takeaway for me was to be open-minded, to trust the process and see what comes of it! This became especially clear to me when the program had to go online and I continue to be amazed at how thoughtful, creative and brilliant the fellows’ final projects turned out to be. My favorite RRR memory would definitely be the lion-head dance, but also when we were practicing! Those are the moments when I truly feel we are a community!

It was incredible to watch the RRR leaders and fellows experiment with confetti paper sculpture, and create an entire lion head with the help of our teaching artist, Emily Chow Bluck. I’ll never forget the feeling of debuting the lion head in front of the crowd, of feeling the collective warmth and care of the environment. It was so exciting to see the lineage of RRR to grow in a self-sustained way, and to see the leadership pipeline continue to flourish. Every year, new fellows and leaders show their dedication toward the program and innovate what we’re able to do and try - it’s always surprising and truly an adventure.

Ja Bolsombut RRR Coordinator

Kristin Chang RRR Coordinator

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2020


Resist Recycle Regenerate

RRR Leadership Team

It was challenging at first stepping into a new role as program leader, but one thing I really took away from this experience is to trust the process. My favorite memory from RRR would be our lion dance performance at the street battle — it was the first time we performed together as a team and we had so much fun rehearsing it hours before! The fellows definitely impacted my RRR experience because each fellow brought something so unique to the sessions each week, and I loved hearing their innovative and creative ideas, individually and as a team.

The past year of RRR has taught me more about leading spaces that foster Asian American creativity, advocacy work, and the learnings of new skill-building techniques. The RRR program has opened up my life to the organizing work of many inspiring scholars, educators, and writers in the field of activism. Our journey from creating a lion head for the Lunar New Year parade to the cumulation of a virtual end-of-year Daughters of the Diaspora showcase were moments of patience and belief in our process. I realized that the creation of stories and art to disrupt power and create social change takes time.

Angela Chan RRR Leader

Resist The W.O.W. RecycleProject Regenerate Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Bonnie Chen RRR Leader


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2020

[My biggest takeaway from RRR was] learning about yourself in a new perspective and learning from the other fellows. I feel like RRR introduced me to some topics that I have never really thought about or have been interested in before. Weinyin Jiang, RRR Fellow

I also never realized how huge of an impact the intersection between art and activism was and am really glad I had the opportunity to. Additionally, I am very inspired by the artists and fellows I met through this program :) and want to bring the things I learned through all walks of life!

Amanda Cui, RRR Fellow

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Resist Recycle Regenerate

After completing the RRR project, what I took away was a sense of community. I’ve learned a lot about art and activism and culture and also a lot about Wing On Wo and Chinatown. I don’t know any other program that could do that.

Jessica Giang, RRR Fellow

I found a community that I’ve never encountered before. One that actively engages in history, activism and supports LGBTQ rights. I’ve learned so much about the community around me and about myself. I am incredibly thankful for RRR for teaching me so much.

Sophia Chok, RRR Fellow

RRR 2020 fellows, leadership, and staff, and interns pose in front of the LNY Lion Head (photo by Marion Aguas)

Resist Recycle Regenerate


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Grassroots Fundraising

W.O.W. Project’s Fundraising Strategy About This year The W.O.W. Project team took a deep dive into learning the power of grassroots fundraising by participating in a workshop supported by NYC Funders Capacity Building Collaborative. We left feeling empowered by the fundraising toolkit we walked away with and the belief that raising our own money with the support of our community is the pathway to liberation. We are stronger and more connected to the work when our community is investing and supporting the programming that is envisioned by us and for us. Board Member, Em, W.O.W.’s Program Manager, Kristin, and Mei gave birth to our Lunar New Year fundraising campaign during this workshop as a way to pilot our very first peer to peer fundraising model during our community’s most festive time. The success of this fundraiser inspired us to rethink the ways we fundraise with and for the community and how to align our fundraising strategies with our ideals of sustainability, people power, and social justice. We were able to create a model for future fundraisers, deepen our relationship to our community, and build our own skills as a team.

The W.O.W. Project’s Fundraising Strategy

Peer to Peer Fundraising

Sliding Scale Ticket Sales



Lunar New Year Fundraiser

4 Year Anniversary Fundraiser

Total Raised




The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Grassroots Fundraising

Peer to Peer Fundraising Peer to peer fundraising rallies our W.O.W. community champions to lead a team of close friends and allies to help fundraise for W.O.W.’s collective fundraising goal. It harnesses people power in fueling our work and makes sure the people who are participating in our programs also have a stake in their growth and development.

Auction Auctions showcase the ways in which artists can support community efforts through the donation of their artwork. This year, heartbroken by the devastating fire at 70 Mulberry and the damage it had on our community archives, we gathered over 20 artists to raise $10,000 to support the Museum of Chinese in America in rebuilding their archive that documents our neighborhood’s most treasured mementos, artifacts, and stories.

Sliding Scale Ticket Sales As part of our fundraising campaigns, we have also held community programming as a way to not only create space for connection, but also as a way to contribute to our fundraising efforts. With sliding scale donation ticket sales, we were able to contribute a significant amount to our 4 year anniversary fundraising campaign.

Raffle Raffles allow for a more accessible way for our community to plug into our fundraising efforts by requiring $10 for entry. During our 4 year anniversary, Wing on Wo ran a rug raffle to contribute to The W.O.W. Project’s fundraising efforts, raising almost $2,000 in ticket sales.

Grassroots Fundraising


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

The W.O.W. Project Lunar New Year Fundraising Campaign To usher in the Year of the Metal Rat, W.O.W. kicked off its first-ever peer-to-peer fundraiser to harness the community’s collective power for a bold start to the new year. The W.O.W. the Crowd LNY Fundraising Campaign rallied community members to become team captains who recruited 3 or more of their friends and close allies to raise $500 as a team in the spirit of helping W.O.W. continue our cultural organizing work in Chinatown. Our goal was to mobilize 10 teams in order to fundraise $5,000 to kick off W.O.W.’s new year. Each team also received the chance to participate in a friendly dance/karaoke/performance street battle where each team had the opportunity to welcome in all of the good spirits into the W.O.W. storefront through music and song. At the culminating street battle, RRR team performed a lion dance with their hand-made confetti paper lion head. We raised a total of $6360.

Peer to Peer Fundraising

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Grassroots Fundraising

This was our first-ever peer-to-peer fundraiser, and it was exciting to interact with and train members of the community in grassroots fundraising strategies. I learned that fundraising doesn’t have to be a topdown model: rather, it can be playful, innovative, and energetic, guided and led by the community who are most invested in and impacted by our work. I owe a lot of our knowledge and strategy to the series of grassroots fundraising training led by New York Women’s Foundation and North Star Fund. Attending these training sessions allowed me to interact with other grassroots organizations across the boroughs, and their work and resilience inspired me deeply. It was wonderful to transfer this knowledge to others in our community and to make conversations about money and fundraising more accessible and empowering rather than intimidating. Kristin Chang, Program Manager

Clockwise from top left: May Chen leads a performance during the W.O.W. the Crowd street battle, Kristin Chang performs during the W.O.W. the Crowd street battle Mei Lum, Bob Lee, and Monica Chen at the W.O.W. the Crowd street battle (Photos by Marion Aguas) Grassroots Fundraising


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

4 Year Anniversary: W.O.W. Care as Community Medicine Fundraising Campaign Our 4 year anniversary celebration came at a difficult time of both grief and rage, calling us to celebrate our 4 year milestone by deepening our commitment to building a pathway to liberation through collective care grounded in Chinatown. With this in mind, in honor of W.O.W.’s 4 year anniversary, we set an ambitious fundraising goal of $50,000, with 50% of the funds raised not only for The W.O.W. Project’s 5th year programming but also to support the resilience of NYC’s Chinatown and an abolitionist future re-envisioning community safety. Through a combination of donations from ticket sales for our 6 online programs, matching donations, and a raffle, we raised our largest total to date of $32,000. We split the funds with 3 organizations to support their incredible sustained work in their respective communities: Chinatown Youth Initiatives, a community based organization that works to build a legacy of leaders who strengthen awareness of self-identity and community issues through project initiatives, Communities United for Police Reform, a NYC campaign fighting for reforms that promote community safety and police accountability and The Black Excellence Collective, a black-led grassroots organizing collective that that uses direct action, art, and popular education to uplift and empower queer, transgender and gender non conforming people of color.


Sliding Scale Ticket Sales

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Raffle Grassroots Fundraising

Chinatown Youth Initiatives during their Chinatown Beautification Day program.

With the funding, we were able to offer all summer interns a stipend for their summer work, and were able to expand the number of internships to 13 this year. We’ve had record numbers of interested students for both our Summer Leadership Institute and Chinatown Beautification Day, as well as many returning youth leaders from last year. Fundraising never ends and we’re already thinking about fundraising for the following summer. But in many ways, The W.O.W. Project’s generous funding transfer helped the board reimagine boldly and urgently, which is incredibly important for our community today.“ Winnie Huang, CYI Board Member


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Special Programs

Special Programs W.O.W.’s Special Programs works to serve the community through hosting events and facilitating conversation addressing relevant issues; stretching across generations, differing economic backgrounds, as well as language barriers. W.O.W.’s programs have explored topics such as intergenerational approaches to homemaking and community building, resisting co-optation of these spaces by gentrifying forces and white supremacy, as well as the heightened importance of these efforts in light of the global pandemic that has put these communities at heightened risk. W.O.W.’s programming this year created accessible alternative spaces for community engagement and fostered a sense of connection, resilience, and most importantly, hope in the midst of the particular challenges of this year. This year, W.O.W. hosted several public programs spanning a range of mediums and formats including panel discussions, workshops, and exhibitions such as Homeward Bound in Boston, and artistic community initiatives including Love Letters to Chinatown and its associated mural project.

Abrons & W.O.W. Project Lunar New Year Party Homeward Bound Love Letters to Chinatown 4 Year Anniversary: Care As Community Medicine Programs

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Abrons & W.O.W. Project Lunar New Year Party Abrons Arts Center and Wing on Wo & Co. rang in the Year of the Metal Rat with a celebration for the Lower East Side and Chinatown community, featuring live performances by MazuDogs, Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute Dragon and Lion Dance Team, Vincent Chong and Wo Chan, karaoke, and DJ sets by HU DAT, Ushka, OHYUNG, and Yasmin Adele Majeed.

Clockwise from top left: LNY Year of the Metal Rat 2020 by Taehee Whang, children interact with lion dancers performing in the black box theater at Abrons (Photo by Shaira Caer) Alison Kuo and Noa Kasman lead an arts activity (Photo by Shaira Caer) Vincent Chong and Wo Chan perform on stage (Photo courtesy of Vincent Chong) Special Programs


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Homeward Bound in Boston Pao Arts Center hosted Homeward Bound: Global Intimacies in Converging Chinatowns, an exhibition curated by queer Chinese American scholars, organizers, and artists Mei Lum, Diane Wong, and Huiying B. Chan. Homeward Bound centers narratives of home, community, and intergenerational resistance. The exhibition draws from four years of ethnographic research and oral history interviews with the Chinese diaspora that spans nine countries and 13 cities. The installation uses photographs, oral histories, and multimedia archives to highlight stories of migration, displacement, and everyday resilience in Chinatowns around the world. This exhibition is the first of its kind to honor, preserve, and build on the history and present day issues of Chinatowns through community-led and curated narratives from residents globally.

This project really made me more intentionally historicize the kind of gentrification that we’re seeing in Chinatown… There’s a lot of historical connections that can be made to the kind of disinvestment and now gentrification that we’re seeing of American Chinatowns and I think making those cross-country, cross-city connections is really integral to the future fight around evictions, around displacement. And I think it really highlights the kind of rich history of resistance and political agency that exists within these neighborhoods.

Diane Wong, Homeward Bound Curator

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Special Programs

Clockwise from top left: Diane leads a digital tour of the Homeward Bound exhibit installed at the Pao Arts Center in Boston’s Chinatown (Photo by Mei Lum), photo gallery from the Homeward Bound exhibit (Photo by Hannah Claudia), Diane Wong, Huiying B. Dandelion, and Mei Lum at the Homeward Bound exhibit (Photo by Clara Lu) Special Programs


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

The conversation that we had when we first landed with Roy and Erica [of Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco] really stuck with me: Whose Chinatown is this? What are we holding on to when we say we want Chinatown to stay the same?… When we think about an intergenerational community, all of our memories and nostalgia of home are different, and so what does that mean for our future? It just made me really think about what it means to build bridges across generations in order to have a common understanding of what we’re working towards, or what we want to build collectively…I’m still thinking about that now in my work.

Mei Lum, Homeward Bound Curator

Clockwise from top left: “Displacement” wall from the Homeward Bound exhibit (Photo by Clara Lu), Visitors walk through the exhibit (Photo by Hannah Claudia), Diane Wong and huiying b. chan present during the opening of the Homeward Bound exhibit (Photo by Pao Arts Center) Huiying b. chan speaking to visitors and visitors walking through the exhibit (Photo by Pao Arts Center) The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Special Programs

This work is also a huge remembering, it’s a remembering of our roots and a preservation of our community in order to be able to shape its future. But it’s also like a huge remembering that is very much against the colonial education that we get in this country, the white history, and the white supremacist ideologies and values that get ingrained in us to forget where we come from and just assimilate or value other things.

huiying b. chan, Homeward Bound Curator

Top to bottom: Exhibit wall from Homeward Bound exhibit (Photo by Clara Lu), Anju Madhok and Mei Lum set up the “Home” exhibit wall (Photo by Diane Wong) Special Programs


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Love Letters to Chinatown The Love Letters to Chinatown (LLTC) 給唐人街情書 project sought to collect love letters, poems, illustrations, paintings, etc. inspired and dedicated to Chinatown to help uplift our neighborhood in its darkest times. The project invited members in the community and across the diaspora to submit art: poetry, stories, letters, illustrations in response to Huiying B. Dandelion’s prompt: Write a love letter to a person, business, or organization you hold dear in Chinatown. Consider Chinatown as a living being. What would you say to Chinatown during this time? What do you want her to know? What stories do you want to share? Volunteers translated the letters, and another group of volunteers posted them around the neighborhood according to our no-contact policy. By posting the letters across Chinatown, we hoped to bring love and care to our community, reminding us that we are resilient. These messages of love and support stood in contrast to empty community spaces and notices of business closures. A selection of submitted love letters were also archived in an interactive map website designed spearheaded by the summer interns and designed in collaboration with Aaron Reiss.

Left to right: Nisma Saadaoui posting Love Letters around Chinatown (Photo courtesy of Nisma Saadaoui), Love letter to Chinatown by Ally Pratt

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Special Programs

Clockwise from top left: Love Letter to Happy Star Bakery by D Zhou, Love Letter to Chinatown by Laura E, “Add Oil” love letter by Mara Man, Love Letter to the Park on Forsyth St (Photo by LLTC Volunteers), Posted love letter to Tan Tin Hung Supermarket (Photo by LLTC Volunteers) Special Programs


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

W.O.W. PROJECT 4 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PROGRAMS As a final closeout to the summer-long 4 Year Anniversary series and celebration, we curated a digital Care as Community Medicine Care Package which compiled materials for community care and resilience, drawing elements from each of the events. Inspired by the Smithsonian APA Center’s digital care package, the Care as Community Medicine Care Package collated media to explore what healing, resiliency, and grounding can look like during this particular time of grief and rage, while making room for hope. It draws from ideas of healing and regeneration explored in Chinese medicine, in which everything is interconnected, fluid, and cyclical. Our hope is that by giving our community the tools we need to care for ourselves, we expand our capacity to love and nurture the relationships necessary for the many fights ahead.

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Special Programs

Fiscal Year 2020 We Are Resilient: A National Conversation Across Chinatowns A moderated discussion by Adriel Luis featuring a panel of groups from Chinatown communities across North America coming together to address urgent concerns in our various communities and for unity, solidarity, and community care. We were honored to be in community with San Francisco’s Chinatown community members and organizers Carmen Chen and Vida Kuang along with Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco, organizers from AYPAL in Oakland’s Chinatown, members of Chinatown Community for Equitable Development from Los Angeles, Youth leaders and community organizers CPA Boston’s Chinese Youth Initiative and Pao Arts Center in Boston, members of Chinatown-International District (CID) Coalition in Seattle’s Chinatown, members from aiya哎呀 collective in Edmonton, Canada and members of the 1882 Foundation in Washington D.C.

A Lineage of Healing: A Workshop with TCM Practitioner Donna Mah A workshop on Traditional Chinese practices/remedies/pressure points for participants at home to learn more about caring for themselves and healing in ways that are both personal and collective. During the workshop, Donna taught us about the five elements form a dynamic cycle that feed each other in a continuous pattern - highlighting the ways in which everything from the personal to global is interconnected, fluid, and cyclical. Using the five element cycle, Donna offered participants ways to care for ourselves and our communities.

Movement as Grounding: A Qigong Workshop with Lingji and Singha Hon Lingji and Singha Hon led a guided Qigong session and tutorial to help participants ground themselves with spiritual wisdom, learning the beginnings of the path to complete liberation through movement.

Masks as Protection: A Workshop with Cantonese Opera Performer Mee Mee Chin In collaboration with Singha Hon and Alison Kuo, Mee Mee Chin guided participants through a Cantonese Opera make-up tutorial and other preparations for performance delving into how we share emotion through masks and makeup.

Illustrations by Sarula Bao Special Programs


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Open Mic: Imagining Our Irresistible Futures Our intern-led Open Mic that brought together NYC’s communities of color to imagine our futures grounded in care, healing, and resilience. Featured artists and presenters included poets Franny Choi and Kay Ulanday Barrett, healers Seyi Adebanjo and Charlie L’Strange from the NYC POC Healing Circle, artists Joseph Cuillier and Mitchell Reece from The Black School, and Jarrad Packard and Andrea Torres from Urban Indigenous Collective.

WOW 4 Year Anni Celebration Party The celebration of our four year anniversary culminated in a performance and celebration featuring performances from the W.O.W. team, other members of the Chinatown and diasporic community including Cynthia Qian, Clara Lu, Vincent Chong, Mark Tseng Putterman, and DJ sets by OHYUNG and Yasmin Adele Majeed.

Working with the W.O.W. Project to produce Masks as Protection was a life changing experience for me. As a biracial artist who does not have deep roots in the Manhattan Chinatown, WOW offered me a helping hand to reach out to the Chinese Opera community here, and then a platform, amazing collaborators, and a wonderful audience with whom I was able to build this opportunity for all of us to learn and form bonds based around our love for Asian American performance culture. The W.O.W. Project is leading the way for artists and organizations to do this type of engagement work that is accessible, equitable, anti-racist and deocolonial. While these are some “buzz words” of our time, the real life result is incredibly personal and touching. Alison Kuo, Masks as Protection Collaborator

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Special Programs

Illustration by Singa Hon and bottom illustration by Sarula Bao

As a final closeout to the summer-long 4 Year Anniversary series and celebration, we curated a digital Care as Community Medicine Care Package which compiled materials for community care and resilience, drawing elements from each of the events. Inspired by the Smithsonian APA Center’s digital care package, the Care as Community Medicine Care Package collated media to explore what healing, resiliency, and grounding can look like during this particular time of grief and rage, while making room for hope. It draws from ideas of healing and regeneration explored in Chinese medicine, in which everything is interconnected, fluid, and cyclical. Our hope is that by giving our community the tools we need to care for ourselves, we expand our capacity to love and nurture the relationships necessary for the many fights ahead.

Special Programs


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Graphic notes for We Are Resilient: A National Conversation Across Chinatowns program, by Clara Lu.

Amidst a year of searching and isolation, We Are Resilient offered me a cherished opportunity to connect with the community in such a meaningful way. Moderating a conversation with thoughtful and deeply invested people from Chinatowns across North America inspired me to reflect on how critical Chinatowns have been in my own life and lineage, and invigorated my sense of responsibility for their futures. To this day, I remain connected with the people I met, and have also incorporated modes of healing that I learned from the Care As Community Medicine series into my everyday practice. I am so grateful for the W.O.W. Project for leading us toward a vision where we can honor our histories by thriving together. Adriel Luis, Curator of Digital and Emerging Practice, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Special Programs

Conceptualized in the earliest days of the pandemic and our collective isolation, the workshop started with ideas around a virtual offering of select Chinese Medicine-based practices to help folks ground and take care of themselves at home. The killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 and our universal reckoning with the historic, systemic, communal and personal threads that demand, question, and contemplate justice - altered our consciousness and thus, the frame of the workshop. More than ever, the container of our gathering, in virtual space, needed to be broad enough to contain the whole of our experience, name and unnamed, as we came together. Concepts of “lineage” in the millenia-old health and healing systems of Chinese medicine, and the traditions we’ve encountered through the hands and hearts of our elders and community aimed to connect us to the depths of our capacities to hold, heal and transform. Donna Mah, TCM Practitioner

Illustration by Singha Hon depicting the 5 elements from our Lineage of Healing program with TCM practitioner Donna Mah.

Special Programs


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Stewarding W.O.W. Project’s first virtual anniversary programming series was really intriguing witnessing and experimenting with ways of creating and holding nonphysical space. It was a challenge trying to access and build a sense of connection over Zoom where the closest thing to feeling and getting a read for a group energy was entering gallery view mode. There’s so much that you miss when you are limited to hosting in virtual space that

gave me a heightened appreciation for the power of in person gathering. We certainly got familiar with navigating technical difficulties but the patience and continued enthusiasm of the community was a great source of encouragement. In spite of these challenges, there were some really magical moments where the physical isolation seemed to melt away to reveal a deeply felt connection, proving just what is possible in these circumstances.

Joy Freund, Summer Intern


NYC POC Healing Circle

Franny Choi

Seyi Adebanjo

The Black School

The Black School

Joseph Cuillier III

NYC POC Healing Circle

Charlie L’Strange

Mitchell Reece


Kay Ulanday Barret

Screenshot of featured guests and performers from Open Mic: Imagining Our Irresistible Futures The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Special Programs

Screenshot from Movement as Grounding

In a year full of memorable experiences and challenges, co-hosting the Movement as Grounding workshop with my sister Singha was one of the brightest moments. Im so grateful and honored to have taken part in W.O.W. Project’s courageous, collective journey toward healing and liberation.

experiences learning Taiji Quan and Qigong from our father, while cultivating our own healing rituals within an empowered and personal framework of divine femininity. It means so much to me that I’m still in contact with several of the workshop participants who take my online classes. As a New Yorker living in Berlin, maintaining this connection to communities in the US broadens my perspective and brings a much needed feeling of “home” to my life abroad.

In this year of isolation, like many, I‘ve realized how essential family, community, and connection is to leading a healthy and vital life. The creative process of developing the workshop with my sister led us deep into vulnerable and magical spaces through the trusting bond of sisterhood. We explored our unique lineage and

Special Programs

Thank you W.O.W.!!

Lingji Hon, Qigong Instructor


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Looking Forward

Reflecting on The W.O.W. Project’s Upcoming Program Year This program year brought unexpected challenges to our work and to our communities both in and out of New York. The W.O.W. Project’s work has always been about building community and connecting with cultural heritage together — across generations, language barriers, and relationships to Asian America. As we enter our fifth program year at a time when Chinatowns across the US are facing uncertainty through multiple crises, questions we ask ourselves about resilience and community-building feel more important than ever. Who makes up our communities? What is the importance of place-based work in a virtual world? How can we show up for each other? As we grow as an organization and a team, we want to ensure that any growth comes intentionally and in ways that help us answer these questions and center our values. In 2019, at this year’s team retreat, we spent time refocusing on what mission-driven work can look like for us going forward, as well as on grounding ourselves and our own agency in today’s political conditions.

We hope to stay grounded in the healing we’ve begun together in 2020.

Our virtual anniversary programming this summer focused on imagining our collective futures through healing, caring for each other, and fighting for Chinatown’s resiliency and building our solidarity practice with the movement for Black lives. While we incorporate into a non-profit, build our partnerships with other Chinatown organizations, and continue our core programs this upcoming year, we hope to stay grounded in the healing we’ve begun together in 2020. We are so grateful for the opportunity to keep dreaming and growing with you in this program year and those to come.

- The W.O.W. Project Board Members

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Looking Forward

As we look ahead to our 5 Year Anniversary, we hope to continue the momentum of our digital community-building and celebrate the momentous milestone of 5 years. We plan to host either digital or hybrid programming around the theme of growth and planting seeds, commemorating the long-lasting relationships between W.O.W. and partner organizations and collaborators. In our first year of our Civic Practice Partnership

Residency at The Met we will be holding programs about vessels and community care to explore what we carry and what we hold. Heading into 2021, our Artist Residency, Resist Recycle Regenerate program, and the Internship program have shifted into the digital space. Despite these changes, W.O.W. remains a space where we organize, reflect, and care for each other. The W.O.W. Project Program Team

Left to right: LNY ceramic vessel’s wishing well, LNY ceramic vessel’s ox made by Heidi Lau (Photos by Heidi Lau) Looking Forward


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

The W.O.W. Project Team

Screenshot of The W.O.W. Project team meeting, clockwise left to right: Bonnie Chen, Clara Lu, Mei Lum, Joy Freund, Emily Chow Bluck, huiying b. chan, Nisma Saadaoui, Kristin Chang, Diane Wong, Angela Chan, Yuki Haraguchi, Em He, Singha Hon, Jade Levine

W.O.W. feels like a space where things are abundant and possible as long as we have our creativity and imagination. huiying b. chan

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Looking Forward

Special Thanks We couldn’t do this without our incredible community and supporters. These programs were made possible by the generous support from:


Fiscal Sponsor NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts)

Community Partners CYI

Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB)


Chinatown Youth Initiatives (CYI)

Abrons Art Center

United East Athletics Association (UEAA)


Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

Pao Arts Center

Q Wave

CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020

Donors W.O.W. Elder 長老 Jeffrey Bandeen

W.O.W. Auntie/Uncle 阿姨 /叔叔 Thomas Finkelpearl Stephanie Shih Neal Bermas

W.O.W. Benefactor 恩人 Eugenie Tsai Elizabeth Strickler Emma Karasz

W.O.W. Collaborator 合作伴儿 Olympia Moy Zhi-Da Zhong Stevie Huynh Ava Hama

W.O.W. Friend 朋友 Julie Lee May Ying Chen Janet Hon

W.O.W. Neighbor 鄰居 Hana Sun Mélissa Emily Corky Lee May Chen Rocky Chin Amanda Estrine Diane Gibson Cal Hsiao Joyce Ligh Joanna Lui Nate Nworb Walter Tian Lu Yang Lena Sze Julia Lubey Cal Hsiao

Denise Zhou Rebecca Fitton Val Chan Gordon Mark Pam & Joe McCarthy Ruby Martin Anna Harsanyi Randall Kennedy Dan Ping He Jane Joseph Alison Kuo Curtis Ho Katie Browning Maggie Dillon Ben Israelow Tinyan Lui

W.O.W. Community Member 社區成員 RG McCarrick Minerva Chin Frederick Smith Yasmin Majeed Randy Frankel Kemi Ilesanmi Hoi Leung Diana Zheng Gabriel Sands Nitai Deitel Christina Chung Natalie Fang Julie Schneider Tong Xiang Hannah Joseph Billy Bang Monica Chen Amy Chin Esther Cohen Alex Hing Nick Lo Michael Mah Greg Milo Robert Rusli

The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020


Walter Schiffer Erica Sze-Tu Jane Tian Pearl Wong Monona Yin Diana Zeng Kevin Gallagher Trinh Nguyen Charlotte Fleming Charlene Wang de Chen Max Wilson Mary Kennedy Alex MacLeish Alexandra Smith Christine Coll Julie Nguyen Clair Beltran Lili Brown Shannon Daniels Molly Lang Diana Chan Calvin Stalvig Robyn Trem Aleta Phelps Nina Huang Hana Sun Melanie Wang Benjamin Lundberg Sanchez Lilly Lam Dan Lau Arthur Soong Tomie Arai Rachel Chung Curtis Ho E Ying Murphy Grace Lin Jan Lee Katie Yun Emma Karasz Linda Zhang Tracie Hall Jacki Hom Joanie Wang Cynthia Char

How To Get Involved 26 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013 @wowprojectnyc

Credits Report design by Clara Lu with help from Yuki Haraguchi, Singha Hon, and the W.O.W. Project team Front cover photo taken by Marion Aguas Back cover photo taken by Marion Aguas


The W.O.W. Project Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020