The arts take center stage in Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month

May 8, 2022

Diverse communities reflected in activities throughout May

Opening night of Asia North 2022. (Photo by Edward Weiss, for Central Baltimore Partnership)

May is Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month, and TU-related arts events are celebrating on campus and in Baltimore.

Last year the TU community marked 50 years of centering the voices and works of APIDA artists through the Asian Arts & Culture Center (AA&CC). The center’s anniversary events and exhibitions were only a few of the ways the AA&CC continues to engage the university and surrounding communities in cross-cultural dialogue through artistic and cultural learning experiences.

In an interview with WYPR’s On the Record, festival organizer and AA&CC program director Nerissa Paglinauan talked about the festival opening a door to cultural understanding. “There’s something about art and music and people finding connections and expressing what we can’t always express through words.”

For the rest of the month, TU is hosting events to showcase APIDA art and artists. Here is a look at the programming:


May 11–15 | Stephens Hall Theatre

Among the pieces the TU Dance Company will perform is “Monkey Mind,” commissioned from guest choreographer Xiang Xu.

Says Xu, “As an Asian choreographer, I hope my choreographic approach with Chinese aesthetic can give those amazing dancers a lot of new ways to feel different dynamics and movement vocabulary. It will help them adapt to different dance styles as professional dancers.”

Student Jenna Nelson remarked that the project has rewarding on several levels. “It gives you the opportunity to see how dance and movement connects us,” she says. “We understand a different culture from a different perspective, and we have more respect for that culture as well.”


Asia North

Through May 28 | Asian Arts & Culture Center

Inaugurated in spring 2019, “Asia North: A Celebration of Art, Culture & Community,” recognizes, showcases and honors the art, culture and Asian heritage of greater Baltimore. There is a special focus on the Korean history of Baltimore’s Charles North community.

Remembrance, Resilience, Power + Pride
Until May 28
Stillpointe Theatre Gallery Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 5–8 p.m.
Motor House Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Friday, Noon–2 p.m. and 7–10 p.m. Also during happy hours and events.

This exhibition provides a healing and empowering space for regional APIDA artists to express remembrance, resilience, power and pride within the context of the ongoing triple pandemic of COVID-19; social, environmental and racial injustice; and economic insecurity. Research documenting Asian community histories of greater Baltimore is also on view.

Living Altar: Growing Our Gardens
Through Saturday, May 28
Motor House
Tuesday through Friday, noon–2 p.m. and 7–10 p.m. Also during happy hours and events.

This interactive healing and art space pays homage to the importance of ritual and ceremony throughout the Asian diaspora and serves as a proactive communal container to celebrate pride and heritage, process and memorialize grief, and connect with each other.

Undercurrents by Dong Xi
Thursday, May 12 | 8 p.m.

Stillpointe Theatre

Join Dong Xi (Chao Tian and Tom Teasley) as they bring Chinese dulcimer and world percussion together in conversation in their new musical project, “Undercurrents,” developed in response to the tumultuous pandemic of the last two years. They experiment with new sounds and musical textures to embody sensitive and negative social emotions and reshape them into positive perceptions, encouraging people to approach problems with optimism and bravely overcome them. By creating beautiful music through respecting, listening and reacting, the duo offers a model for resolving conflict and organizing chaos. mindfully and organically.

Artist Talk: Mixed Race Identity in the AAPI Community
Tuesday, May 17 | 7 p.m.
Motor House
Presented by APAC (Asian Pasifika Arts Collective)

Ceremony: Growing Our Gardens Seed Planting
Saturday, May 21 | Noon–3 p.m.
Meet at Motor House at noon. Walk to Blue Light Junction.
Registration required

Celebrate the beauty, power and resilience of Asian culture at this event featuring music by Chinese guzheng musician, Aiai Calmer; poetry by Ryan Artes; and a communal planting of the seed paper placed on the Growing Our Gardens altar since April 8. Plant a garden together, so the plants along with the memories and wishes they represent continue to survive, thrive and support us along the way.

Asia North 2022 Closing Party
Friday, May 27 | 7–9 p.m.
Stillpointe Theatre and Motor House

Celebrate the creativity and passion of the many artists and community members who came together to make Asia North 2022 a success. Meet the artists, enjoy locally crafted beer, mix, mingle and dance.

Stillpointe Theatre: 1915 Maryland Ave., Baltimore, MD 21218. COVID-19 Safety Protocol: Proof of triple vaccination required. Masks suggested.

Motor House: 120 W. North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201. COVID-19 Safety Protocol: Motor House is operating at 50% capacity with a building-wide mask mandate. Staff, clients and guests must wear a mask at all times within the building unless actively eating/drinking. Please do your best to distance yourself from others while eating/drinking.

James E. Hooper House | 100 E. 23rd St., Baltimore, MD 21218. COVID-19 Safety Protocol: Masks required indoors. Street and lot parking available.

Blue Light Junction | 209 McAllister St., Suite A, Baltimore, MD 21202 

Support the AA&CC

The Asian Arts & Culture Center’s success depends on memberships, sponsorships, grants, foundation support and individual donations. Learn more and support the AA&CC.