History: The Asian American Arts Alliance (A4) is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to strengthening Asian American artists and arts/cultural groups in New York City through funding, promotion and community building. Founded in 1983 by a group of arts leaders who recognized the need for a strong, collective body of Asian American arts groups to represent the interests of its talented, yet under-recognized members, A4 remains the only service organization for the rapidly diversifying and growing Asian American population in the New York metropolitan area. A4’s membership is currently comprised of more than 250 Asian American artists and arts organizations creating works in a wide range of media in the visual, literary, and performing arts.A4’s programming include public forums and workshops, regular member meetings, publications, and funding programs. Among its publications are a directory of Asian American arts organizations and touring artists, the bi-monthlyAsian American Arts Calendar/Resources & Opportunities, an Asian American arts newsletter, Dialogue magazine, and e-Voice, an e-calendar publicizing members’ arts events.
A4’s funding programs include: the JP Morgan Chase SOAR Program, which supports New York City organizations who make contributions to the Asian American community through the arts; the Urban Artists Initiative (UAI), which partners with cross-cultural New York-based art consortiums and groups to support new works by artists of color; and the Chinatown Artist Initiative (CAI). CAI, initiated from funding from the September 11th Fund, partners with C.R.E.A.T.E. in Chinatown, Inc. (Committee to Revitalize and Enrich the Arts and Tomorrow’s Economy) to fund groups engaged in artistic projects in the Chinatown community. Through its partnerships with the Booth Ferris Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and other funders, A4 facilitates Asian American artists’ access to mainstream financial resources.
Sources: Alipio, Amy. “Sacrificial Art.” A. Magazine, November 30, 1995.
“Application for JPMorgan Chase Grants to Asian American Groups Is Going On.” The Filipino Express, November 24, 2002.
Asian American Arts Alliance. “Mission.” Accessed January 29, 2015. http://aaartsalliance.org/page/mission-1.
“Asian American Arts Alliance Offers Grants.” The Filipino Express, October 25, 1998.
Breslauer, Jan. “Hopes and Sales on the Rise at 37th Performing Arts Meet Arts: Guarded Optimism Is in the Air at New York Marketplace for Dance, Music and Theater That Shapes Seasons Across the Country.” Los Angeles Times, December 20, 1993.
Shim, Bo-Seon. “Race and Culture in Nonprofits: The Transformation of New York Asian American Arts Organizations, 1971—2004.” PhD diss., Columbia University, 2006.
Volunteer Match. “Asian American Arts Alliance Detail.” Accessed January 29, 2015. http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org31171.jsp.
Summary: The A4 collection spans in date from 1983 to 2007 and consists of fiscal and donor files, organizational and artist grant files, administrative files, photographs and other visual media documenting A4 events and artists, publicity materials, A4-generated publications, and a collection of A/PA books. As a result of the organization’s relocation in 2001, many of its older files do not survive and the bulk of materials date from the late 1990s and 2000s.
There are extensive files documenting A4’s grant-allocating functions. Fiscal and donor files, both classified as private, constitute the bulk of the collection, but present also are Technical Assistance Regrant Initiative (TARI) fundraising materials from 1995-1996 and 2004-2005, as are its SOAR (Small Organization Arts Regrant) files, which comprise approximately six linear feet of the collection. Arranged alphabetically, these are a rich resource for information on organizations, some now defunct, that have applied for A4 grants. File contents include grant applications, organizational publications, and other materials relating to the organizations’ activities and events. Fundraising files dating from 1995 to 2003 are also contained in the collection.
Present are approximately three linear feet of administrative files, the bulk of which document the activities of A4 Executive Director Lillian Cho. These include Cho’s research for fundraising development, information about organizations Cho collected, correspondence, information about website launching, and materials relating to Cho’s work as a member of various other organizations such as C.R.E.A.T.E in Chinatown. C.R.E.A.T.E. materials include agendas, meeting notes, and real estate research for a community center in Chinatown. Administrative information is also stored in 11 3 ½ in. floppy disks and backup files for the years 2003 and 2005 are stored in CD-RW and CD-Rs. Board meeting minutes, which constitute the oldest material in the collection, date from 1983-1987. A4 currently does not record official board minutes and employees presently keep their own meeting notes in electronic form on office computers. Present are also copies of A4’s 2006 Annual Report.
Approximately one linear foot of the collection consists of 3×5, 4×6, and 8×10-inch print photographs ranging in date from 1998 to 2003. Photographs document APA arts events such as A4’s Asian American Arts Spotlight in 2001, CAPA (Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans) APA Heritage Festival 2001 and 2003 and A4 grant recipient Sachiyo Ito & Company’s Salon Series of educational demos on Japanese and Okinawan art forms in 2003. Photographs are taken also of A/PA artists and A4 staff. One linear foot of materials document A4’s first annual Soundfest: Asian Americans in Music in 2007. Materials consist of files of artist applications, some containing music CDs and DVDs, and some administrative files documenting the selection process. Documenting A4 events are also mini-DV tapes of A4’s Spotlight event in 2001, event files dating from 2001-2004, brochures, postcards, newspaper clippings, and event programs.
The collection also consists of A4-generated publications, including copies of Dialogue magazine that date from 1990 to 1995 and 1998-2001, their newsletter dating from 1996-1999 and 2003-2004, Resources and Opportunitiespublication dating from 1994-1996 and 1998-1999, Asian American Arts Calendar dating from 1993-1996, and Culture Pass, a coupon book and guide to NYC Asian American arts A4 published annually between 2005 and 2007. Many duplicates exist for most of these publications.
About one-and-a-half linear feet of the collection consists of A/PA-related books given to A4 by publishers, which may in the future form part of an A4 resource library. Additional resources include an A4 Office Manual, press and materials about A4 programs and services dating from 1992-2001 and two copies of the Queens Directory of Immigrant-Serving Agencies 2004 published by the Queens Borough Public Library New Americans Program.
Total Size: 59 linear feet, 59 boxes, and electronic files
APA-related Size: 59 linear feet, 59 boxes, and electronic files
Languages of materials: English
Location: Asian American Arts Alliance offices
Bibliographic Control: none
Conditions Governing Access: Currently inaccessible to the public.
Preservation Note: Photographs are improperly housed and have suffered significant damage.