Asian Women Giving Circle Awards $75,000 in Grants to Nine Cultural Intervention Projects in New York City


Contact: Hali Lee

[email protected]


NEW YORK — The Asian Women Giving Circle has awarded grants to nine projects led by NYC-based Asian American women artists and community organizations that explore the impact of the past year on the city’s BIPOC communities through the lens of resistance, resilience, and solidarity. 

“This year we put out a special appeal for proposals that reflected on, or intervened in the multiple pandemics of COVID-19, racial injustice, and deepening inequality,” said AWGC co-founder Hali Lee. “The range of responses from artists and activists to this moment was incredible. The grantees we selected are drawing connections between social movements past and the present and seeking to illuminate the lives and struggles of New Yorkers too often marginalized in the city we call home.”

The 2021 AWGC grantees are:

Betty Yu | “We Were Here: Unmasking Yellow Peril” is a participatory multimedia public installation, audio walking tour and web project inviting Asian-Americans to collectively re-assert, reclaim, and reimagine our narratives rooted in community resilience against white supremacy and anti-Asian xenophobia. It traces today’s anti-Asian violence back to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. $12,500.

Cindy Tran | “Sonnet Crown for NYC” is a filmed sequence of poems inspired by interviews with small business owners that kept NYC running during the pandemic. This project features 14 distinct local business owners and their neighborhoods in all five boroughs, honoring their stories and the work they do for their communities. The filmed sonnet crown is composed of 15 languages, innovating the sonnet form as well as expanding the genres of narrative and documentary film. $7,000.

Lily Zhou | The “NYC Legacy Project” uses radical storytelling to break down stereotypes around aging and celebrate the contributions of older adult residents within the NYCHA community. In collaboration with the NYCHA Senior Champions program, Life Story Club will create a digital collection of audio stories showcasing the voices of older adult residents. The project will be a part of a larger campaign designed to dispel negative stereotypes around older adults and reposition aging as an asset, not a liability. $7,000.

Kinding Sindaw | “Telling Our Stories (Salsilah)” is a community-based storytelling project using the myths and epics of ancient Philippines as inspiration among new immigrant communities in NYC. Artists will lead trainings, dance and oral history workshops, focusing on past historical trauma and stories of resistance and overcoming to help participants work through the impact of the pandemic. $7,000.

Ming Lin & Canal Street Research Association | “Street as Scroll” is a series of collaborative cultural encounters celebrating the vibrant life of Canal Street, reimagining this storied thoroughfare as a landscape painting. Against the backdrop of boarded-up storefronts, public art events will share the resilience of innovative bootleg poetics that question the bounds of authorship and property. $7,000.

Desi Rainbow Parents & Allies | “The Desi Rainbow Family Workbook” is a unique collaboration between artists and mental health healers that addresses the wellness needs of South Asian (Desi) families with transgender and gender nonconforming children through storytelling, strategies, assessments, and the arts. $7,000.

Sharon M. Chin & The Creative Sanctum | “Creative Profiles in Courage” amplifies historical and contemporary Asian American female social justice activists using graphic comics and creative nonfiction with guides on how to support or get involved in their causes. The creative assets support the work of partnering NYC community organizations, spotlighting role models and inspiring action. $5,000.

Steph Ching & Ellen Martinez | “Slumlord Millionaire” is a feature-length documentary about gentrification and the NYC housing crisis. The story follows residents and activists who take on corrupt landlords, including an AA female housing activist. The film is meant to empower tenants and highlights NYC’s pioneering law that mandates free legal representation for tenants facing eviction. The film will be used in cities deliberating similar laws. $7,000.

Sugar Vendil | “BĀS” illuminates the overlooked history of Asian and Black mutual support and aims to bolster solidarity. The multi-movement piece conceived by Sugar Vendil, created in collaboration with Janelle Lawrence, incorporates improvisation, singing, spoken word, movement, and electronic projections of archival images and footage. Performed by an Afro-Asian ensemble. $12,500.