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.
History: Arkipelago is a New York City-based volunteer-run cultural organization that promotes critical dialogue and community engagement in issues of concern to the Philippines and the Filipino Diaspora. Arkipelago grew out of a one-night commemoration in December 1993 of Human Rights Day through songs, poetry, and dances planned by Susan Quimpo, other older Filipino activists and Youth for Philippine Action (YPA). The event was named “Arkipelago,” the Tagalog translation of the word “archipelago,” which brought to mind the Philippines archipelago and its inhabitants’ displacement by recent diasporas. The entirely Filipino community funded event, which drew more than two hundred Filipino and Filipino Americans, turned into a venue for community members to talk about immigrant rights, AIDS (which disproportionately affected Filipinos), generational gaps and problems, and racism. The event’s success prompted Arkipelago’s steering committee to continue its community building and organizing work.
History: The Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) is the labor union of professional theatrical performers and stage managers. Founded in 1913, it negotiates contracts and agreements, arbitrates contract disputes, regulates the importation of alien actors, regulates charges by theatrical agents, provides a pension plan and welfare fund, and otherwise assists the theatrical industry. The union initiated a boycott of segregated theatres in 1947, targeting the National Theatre in Washington, DC. Subsequently Equity’s policies against segregation were extended to all theatres that discriminated against either performers or patrons with regard to race, color or creed. In recent years this principle has been extended to include discrimination on sexual preference or political persuasion or belief. In 1982, Equity adopted an affirmative action policy to increase employment opportunities for ethnic minorities and women. Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Committees were formed to facilitate these efforts.
Equity’s uncompromising support of its members who were affected by blacklisting and other forms of official and informal persecution during the McCarthy era was almost unique in the entertainment industry and among labor unions in general. Actors’ Equity Foundation, the union’s benevolent association, supports a theatre grants program, while a credit union provides credit and financial services to members. The Foundation also aids theatres suffering unforeseen catastrophes, contributes to the Actors’ Fund of America, the charitable arm of the theatrical unions, and funds certain worthy theatrical projects.
Sources: The Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. “Guide to the Actors’ Equity Association Records.” Last modified May 23, 2014. http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/wag_011/bioghist.html.
History: Founded in 1972 when women artists had few spaces to exhibit, A.I.R. (Artists in residence, Inc.) Gallery is the first artist-run nonprofit gallery for women artists in the United States. With a mission to advocate for women in the visual arts, founding members Dotty Attie, Maude Boltz, Mary Grigoriadis, Nancy Spero, Susan Williams, and Barbara Zucker selected fourteen artists to join them as original members and together set organizational policy. A.I.R. membership is kept at twenty New York artists who constitute the organization’s governing body and vote in new members. Exhibitions constitute the main activity of the organization. These include solo shows for Gallery Artists, sponsored shows for Fellow Artists, and group shows that include the broader community of women artists. Asian and Asian American artists, including Kazuko, Angie Eng, Diyan Achjadi, Juri Kim, Barbara Takenaga, Michi Itami, Carol Kumata, Hui-Lin Chao, Jinnine Pak, and Eva Lee can be counted as members or exhibiting artists.