Pearl Street Cleanup with Rick Lowe and Asian Arts Initiative


As part of Asian Arts Initiative’s residency with Rick Lowe and the Pearl Street Project, AAI is hosting a series of community-sourced weekly mini-events along Pearl Street throughout the summer. The series is designed to activate the alley with creative ideas from the Chinatown North and Callowhill communities, and is meant to encourage neighbors and visitors to get together to share and exchange talents and interests.

The Pearl Street Project seeks to transform the alleyway into a more vibrant cultural space in our neighborhood.

AAI also would like to welcome community input for micro-event ideas: send your suggestions for community engagement activities by filling out this survey or by emailing [email protected].

Read more about the July 9th Pop Up event, and events at AAI throughout the summer here.

About the artist

Rick Lowe is an artist who resides in Houston, Texas. His formal training is in the visual arts. Over the past twenty years he has worked both inside and outside of art world institutions by participating in exhibitions and developing community based art projects.

Lowe regards Philadelphia – a dense Northeastern city – as a new setting in which to stretch his own practice and continue exploring the artistic framework for community engagement that he has created through Project Row Houses and continues to experiment with through Transforma, Small Business Big Change, and other projects across the world.

Rick Lowe is the founder of Project Row Houses, visit their website here.

About the Pearl Street Residency

Social practice artist Rick Lowe will conduct a two-year residency project with Asian Arts Initiative. The project will include the creation of new work on Pearl Street, an underutilized alleyway in the neighborhood of Chinatown North (home to AAI and the Center for Architecture). Lowe is recognized for his work at the intersection of art, social action, and community development. Influenced by German artist Joseph Beuy’s concept of “social sculpture” and “the enlarged conception of art” Lowe uses community and locale as key components of his artistic practice.

Lowe will conduct monthly  visits to Philadelphia that incorporate meetings, interviews, and workshops with community stakeholders. The residency will include two traditional public art exhibitions in the alley per year, and will be bolstered by ongoing public programs, all giving the wider public a chance to observe and contribute to the process that is at the heart of Lowe’s concept.

Public happenings in the alley will serve as catalysts for further discussion and influencing the longer-term dynamics of Pearl Street.

Read more about Rick Lowe's Residency here.

More about Pearl Street from AIA

Literally the “backyard” for dozens of community and cultural groups — multiple schools, churches and a handful of contemporary art galleries, as well as Asian Arts Initiative’s own building — Pearl Street embodies Chinatown North’s essence as a diverse and constantly evolving community. To give an example of the extremes represented along the alleyway, at one end of our block is a homeless community shelter, and on the opposite end of the block are brand-new loft apartments under renovation. Commonly perceived within the community as a space that is fallow and blighted, Pearl Street will become an evolving social sculpture based on ongoing experimentation, collaboration and provocations during the multi-year residency period.

About AIA

A meeting place, an idea lab, a support system, and an engine for positive change, Asian Arts Initiative strives to empower communities through the richness of art. We believe in a universal human capacity for creativity, and we support local art and artists as a means of interpreting, sharing, and shaping contemporary cultural identity.

Visit AIA on the web here.

All photos, by Tim K Lee, courtesy of the Asian Arts Initiative.

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