The W.O.W Project’s mission is to engage the community to shape the future of Chinatown by bringing together youth, elders, business owners, and concerned residents in conversation and innovative idea generation.
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Inspired by her family's pivotal moment with their building and century-old business, Mei Lum founded The W.O.W Project out of a desire to bring the issues and concerns of a rapidly changing Chinatown into a space for community dialogue.
During the winter of 2015, Mei serendipitously met Cornell University doctoral candidate, Diane Wong, as she was conducting interviews for her dissertation on the gentrification of Chinatowns in the U.S. Shortly after Diane interviewed Mei, Mei began to shadow Diane on her interviews with different community stakeholders in Chinatown NYC over the course of 3 months. Through this experience, Mei was able to listen to the concerns of the people that make up her community and bring her family’s experience with the possible erasure of Wing on Wo & Co. into context, pushing her to think more largely about the effects not only on her family, but their block: Mott Street and the larger Chinatown community.
The W.O.W Project was inspired by these community's stories. Since the inaugural W.O.W Project panel: The (Re) Generation of Chinatown in May 2016, The W.O.W Project has put on two other panel discussions: Chinatown: NY’s Newest Gallery Scene? & Tough Times: Chinatown Women & the Struggle to Build Community, held a community design challenge, and housed the inaugural 店面 artist residency.
Watch this short documentary on how The W.O.W Project started on its journey in May 2016:
- 店面 Residency Arts & Activism Roundtable + Artist Talk hosted at Museum of Chinese in America
- Chinatown Storytelling Open Mic Night
- New York Public Library Workshop: 'Let's Talk Chinatown: Oral Histories of a Changing Neighborhood' with Diane Wong & Mei Lum
- W.O.W's 1 Year Anniversary Celebration & Fundraiser
- Asian American Female Filmmakers Series
- W.O.W Summer Mobile Cart
- (Re)Generation of Chinatown Panel - May 19, 2016
- In collaboration with The Chinatown Art Brigade Chinatown: New York's Newest Gallery Scene? - July 19, 2016
- The Global Effects of Gentrification Roundtable with the Asia Society's U.S - China Dialogue Young Scholars Program - July 30, 2016
- Crate Wood Design Challenge Showcase - October 8, 2016
- Tough Times: Chinatown Women & the Struggle to Build Community - December 10, 2016
- 店面 Residency: Red Envelope Oral Histories Storefront Opening - January