Why Chinatown? Why Now? Why The W.O.W Project? 

 

 

 

Powerful gentrifying forces are rapidly changing Manhattan’s Chinatown and the stakes are high. Those whose livelihoods are most impacted often do not have a platform to voice their concerns. The W.O.W. Project works to amplify these community voices. The W.O.W Project was born from a turning point in the survival of the oldest shop in Chinatown, a five-generation owned family business that has witnessed almost a century of change in the neighborhood. It is a women-led initiative that has the mission of sustaining ownership over Chinatown's future by growing and protecting Chinatown's creative culture through arts and activism.  

 

 

This past year, we worked on this mission by:

  • Hosting 18 public programs, including our Homeward Bound series which highlights everyday resilience in Chinatowns around the world

  • Mentoring 10 interns providing them grassroots community organizing experience and leadership skills

  • Supporting an emerging Asian American artist through our storefront artist residency which included 17 community paper cutting workshops with over 100 participants

  • And completing our first year-long youth-led Resist Recycle Regenerate program which included political activism, oral history and papermaking workshops that taught Asian American young women skills to explore their own histories of migration and to share with the community by making paper out of collected confetti during the Lunar New Year parade.

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WHAT IS THE W.O.W PROJECT?

Born from a five-generation owned family business in the heart of Chinatown, The W.O.W. Project is a women-founded and led initiative that envisions the future of NYC’s Chinatown as one that is shaped by and for its community. In our first year, we have brought together business owners, activists, artists, & labor organizers who root themselves in our neighborhood’s history and legacy to build intergenerational bridges of understanding for Chinatown’s future. The W.O.W Project’s driving mission is to broaden the scope of who shapes the future of Chinatown through culture & arts in a time of rapid change.

 

Want to learn more about what we've been up to in our first year of existence? Visit our public programs page here. 


WHERE→YOU←COME IN

To celebrate this year of growth and raise funds so we can continue our cultural organizing in a time of rapid cultural displacement, we are asking you to contribute to this crowdfunding campaign to launch the W.O.W. Project into its 3rd year of programming.

Your money will go directly towards developing our public programs, youth internships, 店面/storefront Artist Residency, and the Resist, Recycle, Regenerate papermaking project. For example, $1500 allows us to invite experts to teach our Resist, Recycle, Regenerate fellows different skills to share back with the community, $1000 will help us buy all the necessary supplies for our artist in residence to hold community workshops, $350 will cover costs for one public event, $100 will bring a youth intern to a workshop that will help them develop their personal projects.


*There are some fantastic rewards for donors including:

  • Matriarch / Patriarch - $3000 or more - everything listed below + recognition as a W.O.W. donor on our website and honorary plaque put up at the shop

  • Fairy God Ayi / Shushu - $1000 or more - a hand painted customized ceramic bulldog + an annual membership to the Museum of Chinese in America

  • Family Member - $888 or more - a Thai food dinner for two in the shop cooked by our director, Mei Lum!

  • Benefactor- $500 or more - A W.O.W. goody bag full of all of our limited edition merch: W.O.W. tote, 2 year anniversary poster, W.O.W. inspired patch, enamel pin, linoleum print, Wonton in a Million x W.O.W. collaborative sticker and W.O.W. postcard set of 3 designed by Taylor Jung

  • Partner - $300 or more - a Chinatown walking tour by Gary, the current shopkeeper of Wing On Wo

  • Collaborator - $250 or more - A critical walking tour on the food labor and politics of Chinatown by Alina Shen of Chinatown Our Narratives Tour (CONTOURS)

  • Friend - $88 or more - copy of Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s Go Home! + Chinatown Movements zine by Ryan Wong

  • Neighbor - $30 or more - Junzi Kitchen ticket for one free bing or noodle bowl at their new location on Bleecker St. + W.O.W. inspired print

  • Community Member - $10 or more - personalized thank you card on our handmade confetti paper

*these rewards will be available while supplies last.


Public Programs

 

Our public programs are the backbone of everything that we do. In our first year, we hosted 13 public programs engaging an audience of over 500. Since our inaugural panel discussion on the neighborhood’s next generation of business owners and the gentrification of Chinatown, The W.O.W Project has held a crate-wood design challenge where artists made skateboards, desks, and public benches from old shipping crates, and established the 店面 artist residency around oral histories during the Lunar New Year. 

This past year, we hosted 18 public programs, including screenings of films by female Asian American filmmakers, storytelling open mic nights, and panel events on Chinatowns on the west coast. In 2019, we’re hoping to build on these monthly programs and sustain long-term community engagement to shape the future of our multi-generational community. For example, your money could go towards one of our Homeward Bound series events, a one of a kind program that preserves and builds on the history of resiliency in Chinatowns around the world through community-led narratives from residents from different communities. One public event costs $350 to pay for honorariums and refreshments.


W.O.W Project Internship Program

As a community, we have a responsibility to educate and empower the younger generation. W.O.W is committed to empowering the next generation with a toolkit of leadership, organizational and community organizing skills in order to revive and protect Chinatown’s creative culture and rich history. The W.O.W internship provides a unique opportunity for high school and college students to get involved in grassroots community organizing first hand.

In 2017, we had four young Asian American women interning with us working on a wide range of projects such as, spearheading the W.O.W Weekly blog, managing a transcription team of 10 volunteers for our W.O.W Oral History Collection, producing the W.O.W Fundraising Campaign video, and designing a W.O.W public program. 

For our third year, we plan to enrich our internship program by bringing in experts to lead skill building sessions every semester. Each session costs $150 for the workshop facilitators and travel stipends.

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店面 Artist Residency

Last year, The WO.W Project teamed up with China Residencies to award one artist with a stipend and a 3-month residency to create a new, exciting and festive Lunar New Year window display for the year of the rooster.

This year, we are extending the residency to six months -- twice its original length, providing access to Wing On Wo & Co's basement studio space equipped with silkscreen facilities, and project support from China Residencies and The W.O.W Project. We are passionate about providing space to support generative collaborations between artists and our community. This year, we will not only be including an opening reception and artist talk for the artist-in-residence, but also one-on-one critiques with leading Asian American curators throughout the Residency.


Resist, Recycle, Regenerate 反对、回收、再生 Papermaking Project

 
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Resist, Recycle, Regenerate is a brand spankin’ new project we’re launching this fall. It will consist of a series of writing, history, political activism, and papermaking workshops teaching girls to address the future of Chinatown’s immigrant populations by recycling the discarded Chinese New Year fireworks into hand-printed zines. The project reflects how our collective histories are deeply shaped by exclusionary immigration policies of the past and present.


If you would like to make a recurring donation and become a friend of The W.O.W Project:

 
 

NOTE: All donations made to The W.O.W Project are tax deductible.

 Donate $100 + and you will receive a custom hand-printed W.O.W Project tote bag!

Donate $100 + and you will receive a custom hand-printed W.O.W Project tote bag!

 

 

 

The W.O.W Project is fiscally sponsored by China Residencies, a non-profit that is passionate about creating opportunities for artists to bring a broader cultural understanding in their work and communities. Read more about The W.O.W Project and China Residencies partnership here

You can also donate by mailing or dropping off a check at the shop on 26 Mott St. Please write your check out to: 

 
 

China Residencies
c/o Wing on Wo & Co. 

26 Mott St. New York, NY 10013