Asian American Arts Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring greater representation, equity, and opportunities for Asian American artists and cultural organizations through resource sharing, promotion, and community building.
Since 1983, A4 has sought to unify, promote, and represent the artistic and cultural producers of one of New York City’s fastest-growing populations. We are a diverse alliance of artists, organizations, and arts supporters who believe that working together as a pan-ethnic, multidisciplinary community is essential to nurturing the development of artists and arts groups. A4 serves as a thoughtful convener of the Asian American cultural workforce around issues of race, identity, and artmaking and provides a critical voice for this community. We are the only service organization in the country dedicated to the professional development of Asian American artists in all disciplines.
Board of Directors Alumni Board Artist Council Advisory Committee
Reena Jana
Board President

Reena is a second-generation Indian-Filipina-American. Currently, she is Head of Content Strategy for Responsible Innovation at Google. She’s held various positions at Google, including Head of Product Inclusion and Creative Lead for Business Inclusion. She’s been deeply involved in various efforts across the company related to the development of human-centric AI, including the People + AI Research initiative.

Before Google, Reena was a product owner at IBM’s Design Lab, focusing on intrapreneurial employee engagement apps and content strategy (and earned a related design patent), as well as C-suite thought leadership. Prior to IBM, she was Executive Editor at frog design, where she led the firm’s external thought leadership and consulted on inclusive innovation content strategy with tech world clients. Before joining the tech world, she was the Innovation Department Editor at BusinessWeek, where she wrote about the value of new user experiences and business models found in emerging markets and within design for accessibility.

She’s advised and mentored startups and founders across industries, including Built NY and Owners.com (formerly Owners Network), and incubators such as New Inc., Matter Ventures, and Area 120. Reena holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University, an MA from Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and was a Fellow at Columbia Journalism School. A former figure skater and varsity ice hockey player, she spends her spare time these days working toward her black belt in mixed martial arts, paddle boarding, and playing the piano.

Kelin Li
Board Treasurer
Kelin Li grew up in Beijing and moved to the United States for higher education at the age of 18. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland College Park and a Master of Science degree in Quantitative Finance from Carnegie Mellon University. Kelin currently works at Macquarie Group and focuses on investment strategies in credit markets. Prior to joining Macquarie, he worked at TEN-X, a Real Estate FinTech firm, in New York for 2 years where he built analytics products and provided solutions to clients. Kelin has always been passionate about music that he began playing violin at the age of five and later on joined an alternative rock band in college. The most remarkable trip Kelin has done recently was a 4-day backpacking to Machu Picchu in Peru. Kelin joined the board of the Asian American Arts Alliance in 2019.
Tariq Ahmad
Board Secretary
Tariq Ahmad, PhD is the CEO of Sports Court Consulting, an agency focused on athlete education and representation for college athletes. Tariq is also a Senior Sport Management Instructor at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, and an incoming Adjunct Sport Management Instructor at Manhattan College in The Bronx. He has worked in the tech and social media space for 10 years, with stops at Meta, MetLife and IBM, focusing on B2B, B2C, and sports initiatives. When he’s not working, he enjoys sports (playing and watching), traveling (internationally and domestic), cooking and dining out, and exploring New York City (including sharing pics of the city on Instagram). A transplant from Oklahoma, he has lived in New York City for over eight years, and is a first generation Pakistani-American US native.
Joshua Cipkala-Gaffin
Josh Cipkala-Gaffin is an Executive Director at J.P.Morgan Private Bank leading Securitized and US Agent Fixed Income trading efforts. He is also part of the AsPIRE Tri-State leadership team at J.P. Morgan which works to promote professional development and opportunities that support the AAPI community. Prior roles include International Banking and International Strategic Projects at J.P.Morgan and Marsh, respectively. Josh grew up in Pittsburgh and after graduating from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, has spent the last decade living in New York City. He enjoys taking part in the rich art scene that the city provides and likes to create canvas based multi-media art projects in his spare time. He has also run the New York City Marathon several times and earned a Six Star Medal by completing all major marathons. Josh joined the board of Asian American Arts Alliance in 2023.
Ryna Dery
A child of a diplomat, Ryna is a long time New Yorker, recent SoCal transplant, always wandering, global citizen. From her many years of moving from country to country, she’s learned the importance of community and has consequently continued to build community wherever she went. She joins the A4 family with a wealth of experience in nonprofit operations, strategy, and community-based work. Ryna has a BA from the University of the Philippines and an Executive MPA from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She continues to enjoy travel, but at home you’ll find her playing in the kitchen, tending to her plants, or immersed in a book. She is excited to support A4’s work and to nurture her love for the arts.
Bindu George
Bindu George has been with Chase for over 20 years. She is currently an Executive Director, leading a global team as Head of Issue Resolution Management, Governance and Readiness in the Customer Service organization that supports employees in the US, India and Philippines. She is part of AsPIRE, supporting the AAPI community and Women on the Move, which promotes professional development. Prior stints include being a licensed account administrator at Charles Schwab and a Marketing Officer at HSBC. When not working, she enjoys traveling with her husband and two children, seeing broadway shows, learning to sew and mentoring. Born in NY as a first generation Indian-American, Bindu grew up in Greenwich, CT and has lived in AZ, WA and currently in OH and NJ.
Amy Hau
Amy Hau is the Director of Marketing & Operations at WXY architecture + urban design. Prior to joining the award-winning architecture and planning firm, she was the Director of Administration and External Affairs at the Noguchi Museum, where she was part of the senior management team that stewarded the legacy of the world-renowned Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. In her three-decade career at the museum, she played a significant role in the transition of the artist’s estate into a museum, including the overseeing of its multi-phase $23 million capital project and the development of its master plan. She has served on her local community board since 2012 and joined the board of the Asian American Arts Alliance in January 2016.
Alan Lo

Alan Lo is first generation, Australian-born Chinese who moved to New York City in 2010. He received his Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian National University in 1997. Currently, Alan is an Associate Director in the Credit Risk Management group of Macquarie and has been with the organization since 2007 covering various sectors including commercial real estate, infrastructure, corporate lending, and equity investments. Alan has been a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand since 2004 and, prior to his time at Macquarie, worked at various accounting firms and financials institutions in Sydney and London including Deloitte, PWC, and Merrill Lynch.

Alan is passionate about art, music, and travel. His travel pursuits have taken him to more than 40 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. One of his most recent memorable trips was camping with the Grizzlies in Brooks Falls, Alaska. Alan’s original intent when moving to the US was to only stay for 2 years, but he is now a proud Brooklyn condo owner, which is shared with his wife and two Korean rescue dogs.

Michelle Pham
Michelle Pham is a first-generation Vietnamese-Canadian from Vancouver who has adopted New York as home. She is leading Global Strategy and Operations for the Product Solutions & Operations team at TikTok. Formerly, Michelle held various positions at Google in the Ad Sales division. She was involved in special projects with the Asian Googler Network, where she led efforts to increase Asian-American programming at Talks at Google. A graduate of Bates College, she founded the Asian-American Students’ in Action group, an organization dedicated to Asian-American representation and advocacy on campus. An avid fan of the arts, Michelle enjoys collecting textile arts and learning about the history and people behind these pieces.
Athena Robles
Athena Robles is a visual artist whose work involves drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and installation. Early in her career, she was included in the exhibition New American Talent at the Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin, TX, and she has since exhibited nationally, including at the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, and in New York at the American Museum of Natural History. A Van Lier fellow in 1995, she has participated on panels for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Ford Foundation, and others. Robles has collaborated on projects for the artist collective Godzilla and the Asian American Arts Alliance, where she serves as a board member. Her experience in arts administration and communications includes positions at Creative Capital Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Art in General, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. In addition, she is a freelance writer, copy editor, and consultant on integrated media; publication projects include the Warhol Initiative, published by the Warhol Foundation. Robles holds an undergraduate degree in art and psychology from Drew University and a master’s in fine arts from Cornell University. Her collaborative project Counter Culture Cash with Anna Stein was featured on Artnet News and their joint work continues to receive support and recognition from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Front Room Gallery in Brooklyn, among others, and is being presented at symposiums and conferences across the country. She was born in New York City and is currently based in Washington, DC.
Oscar Wong
Oscar Wong is Head of Ventures Platform of Gold House where he oversees strategy, partnerships, and the venture fund’s community-leading accelerator that empowers the next generation of leading entrepreneurs. Prior to Gold House, Oscar led Google/YouTube’s go-to-market strategy and product marketing teams across the United States and Asia-Pacific region. He was on the founding team behind Grow with Google, the company’s $1 billion commitment to create economic opportunity and empower over 10 million Americans to grow their businesses and careers. From launching products in emerging markets to accelerating cross-border opportunities for businesses, Oscar is passionate about driving financial inclusion for all. He formerly led Growth as the first business hire at two startups in consumer fintech and enterprise software. Oscar holds a MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and earned his BA in Economics from Stanford University as a first-generation college student. Oscar is devoted to paying it forward through serving on the advisory boards of the Asian American Arts Alliance, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Moneythink, and QuestBridge.
Serina Yamada
Serina Yamada is the Head of Real Estate Investment Marketing at Nuveen, where she leads a global team responsible for the development and execution of strategic marketing programs aimed to drive brand awareness and expand client relationships. Prior to joining Nuveen, Serina was at Sotheby’s International Realty where she marketed luxury residential properties across New York City. Having roots in Hawaii and a childhood in Japan, Serina has called New York home for over the past decade. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with honors in Strategic Design and Management from Parsons School of Design. During her spare time, Serina finds joy in painting, exploring art exhibitions and uncovering hidden gems during her travels.

Anna Abdon-Grady, 2007 – 2010
Thelma Adams, 1990 – 1992
Arun Aguiar, 1994 – 1997
Esther Ahn, 2021– 2023
Lee Allen, 1997 – 2000
Stephen Bai, 2001 – 2001
Aparna Balaraman, 2017 – 2020
Theodore Berger, 2007 – 2014
James Berroya , 2009 – 2010
William Chan, 1999 – 2011
Eveline Chang, 2017 – 2019
H.T. Chen, 1984 – 1986 ★
Jeffrey Chen, 1999 – 2000
Fay Chiang, 1986 – 1989 ★
Jennie Chien, 1993 – 1998
Amy Chin, 1990 – 1998
Charlie Chin, 1989 – 1990
Jackson Chin,1993 – 1997
Rockwell Chin, 1993 – 2014
Anita Chiu, 2017 – 2021
Jennifer Cho, 1995 – 1996
Lillian Cho, 1998 – 2000
Lucia Choi-Dalton, 1995 – 1995
Larry Chua, 1993 – 1994
Carolyn Curran, 1989 – 1989
Celeste Dado, 1989 – 1993
Charles Danziger, 1993 – 1994
Moy Eng, 2001 – 2001
Rebecca Estepa, 1989 – 1991
Marlena Gonzales, 1986 – 1986
Mariko Gordon, 2006
Tara Gupta, 2017 – 2018
Janet Hayakawa, 1991 – 1994
Terry Hong, 1995 – 1996
Fred Houn, 1983 – 1986★
Steven Hsiao 2020 – 2023
James Hun, 2001
Claire Iwatsu, 1989 – 1990
Blane Kieng, 1997 – 1997
David Kim, 1989 – 1991★
Grace Kim, 2000 – 2001
Jenny Kim, 1997
JiYoung Koo, 2001 – 2002
Robert Ji-Song Ku, 1997 – 1999
Leslie Kuo, 2017 – 2020
Corky Lee, 1984 – 1998 ★
Diana Lee, 2009 – 2015
Elizabeth Lee, 1997
Fay Ann Lee, 2013 – 2016
Robert Lee, 1983 – 1989
Ronald D. Lee, 2017 – 2023
Wangsheng Lee, 1997
Lorraine Leong, 1998
Phyllis Leung, 1990 – 1990
Mimi Liu, 2002 – 2005
Lily Lu, 2009 – 2018
Elliot Lum, 2020-2022
Wai Look, 1999 – 2010 ★
Robert Ma, 1996 – 1997
Diane Miller, 1998 – 2000
Yong Soon Min, 1986 – 1993 ★
Greg Morozumi, 1983 – 1984
Kathy Mukaida, 1989 – 1990
Nobuko Cobi Narita, 2002 – 2005★
Kay Nishiyama, 1992 –1994
Grace Kim Niwa, 2001 – 2002
Alan Okada, 2005 – 2011
Michael Oshima, 2005 – 2008 ★
Lisa Philp, 1994 – 1996
Hong Qu, 2003 – 2017
Ravi Rajan, 2009 – 2017
Grace Sun, 1992 – 1994
Mark Swicegood, 2011 – 2020
Sonnet Takahisa, 1989 – 1990
Tiffany Tay, 2020 – 2023
Hwi-Sook Koh Taylor, 1995 – 2003
Jennifer Wah, 1996 – 2002
Helen Wan, 2015 – 2019
Eric Wong, 2009 – 2015
Derrick Wong, 1991 – 1994
Eleanor San San Wong, 1990 – 1992
Amy Yong, 2019 – 2021
Judy Yu, 1990 – 1994
Ken Yu, 1998 – 2006
Sherman Yu, 1997 – 2000
Cindy Zhou, 2014 – 2017

★ In Memoriam

Tomie Arai
Tomie Arai is a public artist, born and raised in New York City. Through the framework of community-led collaborations, Arai uses public art, mixed media installations, and large-scale light projections as platforms to amplify issues of race, gender and social justice. Arai has designed both temporary and permanent public works of art for Creative Time, the GSA Art in Architecture Program, the NYC PerCent for Art Program, the MTA Arts for Transit Program, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. She is a co-founder of the cultural collective, The Chinatown Art Brigade, and is currently an artist-in-residence with CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities.
Jessica Chen
Artistic Director and Choreographer
Jessica Chen is an American dancer, choreographer and Artistic Director of J CHEN PROJECT, with a mission to create dance works that emphasize identity, cultural diversity, and belonging. Her work has been presented at New York Fashion Week (MoMA), Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, MACY’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, TEDx Semester at Sea, and featured in Google Arts & Culture by the Asian American Arts Alliance. Currently, projects include AAPI Heroes: Myths and Legends, R&H Cinderella, Jersey Boys, The Messenger, and Cabaret. She was nominated for the 2023 Bessie Award in Outstanding Choreographer/Creator.
Vijay Iyer
Composer and Pianist
Described by The New York Times as a “social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway,” composer-pianist Vijay Iyer has earned a place as one of the leading music-makers of his generation. His honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a United States Artist Fellowship, a Grammy nomination, and the Alpert Award in the Arts. His most recent albums are Love in Exile (2023), a collaboration with Arooj Aftab and Shahzad Ismaily that is “suffused with unfolding mystery and deep human connection” (NPR), and Uneasy (2021), a trio date with Tyshawn Sorey and Linda May Han Oh hailed as “a triumph of small-group interplay and fertile invention” (The New Yorker). He teaches at Harvard University.
Ani Liu
Ani Liu is an internationally exhibiting research-based artist working at the intersection of art & science. Ani’s work examines gender politics, labor, reproduction, simulation and sexuality. Integrating emerging technologies with cultural reflection and social change, Ani’s most recent work examines the biopolitics of care work and motherhood. Ani’s work has been exhibited internationally, at the Venice Biennale, Ars Electronica, Kunstmuseum, the Queens Museum, and MIT Museum. Ani’s work has been featured in The New York Times, ArtForum, Art in America, National Geographic, VICE, Mashable, Gizmodo, TED, PBS, The Brooklyn Rail, and WIRED. She is currently an Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.
Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya
Born in Atlanta to Thai and Indonesian immigrants, Amanda is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and activist. Her work in sculpture, textile, public art, and ritual has reclaimed space in museums and galleries, at protests and rallies, on buildings, in classrooms, and on the cover of TIME. Her work examines the unseen labor of women, amplifies AAPI narratives, and affirms the depth, resilience, and beauty of communities of color. Amanda has been artist-in-residence with the NYC Commission on Human Rights and sits on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, where she advises the President on how art can foster community well-being.
Shahzia Sikander
Shahzia Sikander is widely celebrated for subverting Central and South-Asian miniature painting traditions into dialogue with contemporary international art practices and launching the form known today as neo-miniature. Interrogating ideas of language, trade, empire, and migration through feminist perspectives, Sikander’s paintings, video animations, mosaics and sculpture explore gender, sexuality, racial narratives, and colonial histories. Sikander is a recipient of the MacArthur award and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation’s Pollock Prize for Creativity, among others.
Perry Yung
Actor and Musician
Perry Yung is a Chinese American actor and musician originally from Oakland, CA. He is a founding member of the Slant Performance Group and has been a member of La MaMa E.T.C.‘s Great Jones Repertory Group since 1993. He is a recipient of the Japan US Friendship Foundation and Asian Cultural Council awards for shakuhachi crafting. Perry can be seen as Father Jun in HBO’s Warrior television series, produced by Justin Lin (Fast and Furious) and Shannon Lee (Bruce Lee’s daughter). This dream production allowed him to combine acting with his flute playing career.
Jon Santos
Jon Santos is the principal of Common Space Studio, a New York City-based design studio and acting director of communications design for artist Anicka Yi, a long time collaborator who together with Josh Kline produced work as the Circular File collective from 2007 to 2009. He designed and edited Werner Herzog’s Whitney Biennial installation in 2012 and in 2016, he developed original artworks in collaboration with Hank Willis Thomas for the first artist-run super-pac (For Freedoms). Santos exhibits his work internationally and was nominated for a James Beard award and was a recipient of an AIGA Gold Medal.
Claire Chung
Claire Chung is a polyglot speaking five languages with 25+ years experience at the crossroads of art x luxury and digital commerce. She has been an entrepreneur founding start-ups to a senior executive in publicly listed companies. A citizen of the world, Claire has lived in New York, London, Milan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and is currently based in Lisbon. Claire started her career at Citibank Art Advisory in New York. She later moved to Hong Kong to launch Christie’s Client Advisory Services and later moved to London to oversee Asian VIP client development. Later, she helped launch Shangpin, China’s first luxury online retailer, and Net-A-Porter in China. Claire serves on the Board of Directors of Bang & Olufsen and Delsey. Claire is a Founding Member & on the Strategy Board of Terra Foundation, a collaborative cultural platform in Portugal working to balance the relationships amongst humans and between humanity and planet Earth. Claire is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University with a BA in History of Art and University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Executive Program in Circular Economy & Sustainability.
Lakshmee Lachhman-Persad
Lakshmee Lachhman-Persad (she/her), a marketer and educator with 25
years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, is an influential
change maker with a powerful focus on positive disability representation
of and marketing to people with disabilities and disability inclusion. When
she recognized the total absence of marketing intended to attract disabled
visitors to New York City, she created www.AccessibleTravelNYC.com. Her
goal: to inspire and empower people with disabilities and their families
and friends to plan and enjoy their New York City travel. Media images of
her family and their story were the first (historic!) to represent disability
inclusion by NYC & Company, the city’s official destination marketing
Ron Lee
Ron Lee practices national security, cybersecurity, privacy, and government contracts law as a partner of Arnold & Porter. He was a Director of the Asian American Arts Alliance 2017-2023. He is a founding co-sponsor of the Quan Lee Excellence Fund for Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies, University of British Columbia. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy and served as an inaugural director and President and Secretary of the Yale Law Journal. Ron holds degrees from Princeton University (A.B. History), Oxford University (M.Phil. International Relations), and Yale Law School (J.D.)
Jasmine Wahi
Jasmine Wahi is the Founder and Co-Director of Project for Empty Space, an arts nonprofit organization in New York City and Newark, New Jersey. Her multifaceted curatorial practice predominantly focuses on issues of femme empowerment, complicating binary structures within social discourses, and exploring multi-positional cultural identities through the lens of intersectional feminism. In 2023, Ms. Wahi was honored by The Metropolitan Museum of Art for exemplary social impact work in the arts. In 2020, she became the inaugural Holly Block Social Justice Curator at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. In 2019, Ms. Wahi gave her first TED Talk on intersectionality and visibility, entitled “All The Women In Me Are Tired.”
Lilly Wei
Lilly Wei is a New York-based independent curator, writer, journalist and critic whose area of interest is global contemporary art, in particular emerging art and artists. She writes frequently on international exhibitions and biennials and her work has appeared in dozens of publications world-wide. The author of numerous catalogues and monographs, she has curated exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Asia. Wei lectures frequently on critical and curatorial practices and sits on the board and advisory councils of several not-for-profit art organizations. She has an MA in art history from Columbia University, New York.
Karen Wong
Karen Wong is a cultural leader, educator and mentor. In the fall 2023, Wong taught a graduate seminar “Ways of Experiencing” exploring the ‘the immersive’ through architectural language at Columbia University GSAPP. As the former deputy director of the New Museum, Wong cofounded the initiatives IDEAS CITY (2010-2020), a malleable platform exploring the future of cities; NEW INC (2013-present), the first museum-led incubator for art, technology, and design; and ONX Studio (2019-present), a mixed-reality accelerator and demo lab. These game-changing programs elevate creative practitioners and demonstrate art’s transformative power for cultural and social impact.
Shelly Xu
Shelly Xu is the Founder of the zero waste design-tech startup SXD. She is committed to reversing fashion’s negative impact on our environment—a reality she has witnessed first-hand growing up in Asia. Shelly has worked at Instagram, Prada and McKinsey, and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School. Shelly’s work has been covered in Forbes, Fast Company, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, and Women’s Wear Daily. Her company SXD has won Top Innovative World Technology at SXSW and the Global Change Award known as the “Nobel Prize of Fashion”. Shelly is also the inventor of two utility patents on design-technology.
The creation of the Asian American Arts Alliance was part of a larger cultural movement occurring in the United States in the latter half of the 20th century, propelled both by a shift in immigration and by the powerful influence of the Civil Rights movement. Several pioneering Asian American groups had started their activities in New York City in the 60s and early 70s, including Art Resources for Teachers and Students, Asian American Dance Theatre (now Asian American Arts Centre), the Chinese American Arts Council, Four Seas Players, and Basement Workshop (a group of artists, urban planners, and activists whose activities had begun in Chinatown in 1971). This was followed by another wave of groups in the 70s with organizations including Asian CineVision, H.T. Dance Center, Music From China, New York Chinese Cultural Center, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Yueh Lung Chinese Shadow Theatre (now Chinese Theatre Works), and others. However, the Asian American arts community as a whole lacked a collective body to represent the interests of its talented yet under-recognized members.

In 1983, Helen Cash Jackson and Barbara Ho from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), which had been the main funder of several of the Asian American groups through its Special Arts Services (SAS) program, convened a meeting to discuss the need for a central service provider in the Asian American arts community. A follow-up meeting ensued at the Basement Workshop, where community leaders, including Tisa Chang, H.T. Chen, Rocky Chin, Peter Chow, Sharon Hom, Fred Houn (later Fred Ho), Bob Lee, Corky Lee, Jack Tchen, Eleanor Yung, and others came together to answer this need and launch the Alliance for Asian American Arts and Culture.

In its initial years, A4 operated informally out of the offices of Expedi Printing, Inc., on West 13th Street. A4 started producing a quarterly Calendar of Events and developing a joint mailing list and membership brochure for the community. By 1985, A4 had expanded membership to include a number of organizations still in existence today including Asian American Arts Centre, Asian CineVision, H.T. Dance Center (now Chen Dance Center), Chinatown History Project (now Museum of Chinese in America), Four Seas Players, and Music from China. Within three years of its inception, membership increased to more than 30 organizations and individual artists. In 1985, A4 worked with the Henry Street Settlement to co-sponsor its first month-long visual and performing arts event, Roots to Reality: Asian Americans in Transition. With the leadership of Fred Ho and Bob Lee, assisted by Yong Soon Min, A4’s first coordinator on staff, the event set out to celebrate and explore the unique identity, history, and contributions of traditional and contemporary Asian American artists. The first local Asian American multidisciplinary arts festival of its kind, the event drew more than 300 people and spawned a second incarnation the following year, Roots to Reality II: Alternate Visions.

The latter half of the 1980s marked a time of deeper stabilization within the Asian American artistic community. In 1988, A4 obtained 501 © 3 status, officially becoming a tax-exempt, non-profit organization. A4 set up home in its first official office at 339 Lafayette Street. With its move to a new physical location, A4 also adopted a new name, retiring the old Alliance for Asian American Arts and Culture for the more compact Asian American Arts Alliance. In 1988, C.N. Yee was hired as the first executive director, soon to be followed by Karen Chinn in 1989. A4 began to offer workshops on topics such as marketing and funding opportunities and to host special events such as visual arts exhibits. The last major project for A4 in the 1980s was to publish a Directory of Asian American Arts Organizations in New York and New Jersey, a comprehensive guide to more than 80 groups.


The 1980s had marked a time of pronounced growth within the Asian population. No longer limited to East Asian countries, immigration in the 1980s and 90s began to trend towards both Southeast Asian and South Asian nations as well. Between 1990 and 2007, the Asian and Asian American population nearly doubled in New York City, growing to almost a million.

Correspondingly, the 1990s were a decade of huge growth and expansion for A4. It began publishing the Dialogue newsletter to inform constituents about community arts events, advocacy issues, and funding opportunities. In 1991, A4 organized Defining Our Culture(s), Our Selves, a conference in partnership with the Asian Pacific Student Alliance at Hunter College. That same year, Amy W. Chu took over as the new executive director. Two years later, A4 organized the first national Asian American conference, Beyond Boundaries, in collaboration with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, which brought together more than 250 artists, writers, activists, funders, and representatives from cultural organizations, advocacy organizations, museums, and academia nationwide.

June Choi was hired as executive director in 1992 and in 1994 A4 received a $325,000 multi-year grant from the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation to launch the Technical Assistance & Regrant Initiative (TARI), allocating cash grants and technical assistance to help stabilize Asian American arts groups in NYC. This would be the first of many regrant programs spanning almost 15 years. A4 continued to publish its monthly Arts Calendar and added a Corporate Funding Guide for constituents. It began publishing a Resources & Opportunities listing of jobs, workshops, resources, competitions and grant opportunities to complement the calendar. Also added to these resources was a directory of Asian American touring artists, Asian American Artists Ready to Tour!. In 1995, A4 moved to 74 Varick Street and in 1996, Lillian Cho was hired as the new executive director.

Looking to further expand services for the Asian American artistic community, A4 started a new program called Artist Series, a number of roundtables and seminars about topics such as public art/public spaces, commissions, community-based teaching artists, and the impact of arts in education in the Asian American arts community. In 1998, the TARI regrant program completed its third and last round after having awarded a total of $204,789 in grants and thousands of hours of technical assistance to more than 25 organizations. In the same year, A4 began a new initiative funded by Chase Manhattan Bank for small Asian American arts groups. The Chase SMARTS Regrant Program provided cash grants of $2,000-$3,000 for projects or equipment which supported organizational development of Asian American arts groups. Chase SMARTS ran for 4 years and provided 34 grants, totaling $96,400. Next, A4 made another step towards more nationwide community building by publishing a new Asian American Arts Resource Directory, listing nearly 200 arts organizations and touring artists nationwide.

In the same year, 1998, A4 refashioned Dialogue into a magazine to serve as a forum for expressing the views, ideas, and works of Asian American artists, featuring interviews, articles, and artwork. With the emergence of the internet, A4 moved many of its resources online, making items like the Arts Resource Directory and Arts Calendar available on the very first official A4 website. In addition, A4 continued to offer a series of technical assistance workshops and Meet the Funders events through a new program called Nuts & Bolts. At the close of the decade, A4 received increased support from Chase Manhattan Bank to continue its work.


The 2000s marked a period of great fluctuation for the New York City artistic community. All throughout New York and beyond, each individual was impacted deeply by the events of September 11, 2001. Combined with the already escalating U.S. recession, the effects of 9/11 on personal lives and communities heightened the fragile financial situations of many individual artists and arts organizations. In order to ensure that the arts would continue to prosper within the New York City community, emergency funding and service organizations from across the United States came together to form funding consortia or foster other means of aid.

As a service organization, A4 acted as a steering committee member for the New York Arts Recovery Fund, a consortium effort headed by the New York Foundation of the Arts which provided funding, information resources, advocacy, and public programming to individual artists and arts organizations most affected by September 11th. In addition, A4 hosted its own series of roundtables with member artists and art groups to discuss the impact of 9/11 on their work and lifestyle and to assess artists’ needs. Through the September 11th Fund, A4 received funding to launch the Chinatown Arts Marketing Project (CAMP) to help redefine Chinatown as an arts and cultural destination for local New Yorkers and to increase attendance and patronage at local cultural events and businesses downtown. A4 also became part of C.R.E.A.T.E., a coalition of downtown organizations dedicated to finding a cultural space for the arts in Chinatown.

Thanks in part to the in-pouring of arts support post 9/11, A4 experienced another period of growth and continued to nurture its many other programs. In 2002, A4 received major support from the Ford Foundation to spearhead a research initiative on technology use within the Asian American/Pacific Islander arts community nationwide, ending in a report, Connect the Arts: An Internet Initiative for the Asian American/Pacific Islander Arts Community, which addressed the ways in which the internet could be best leveraged to build partnerships within the community. 2003 marked the beginning of a monthly series called A4 Salon which featured artist talks, panels, and presentations to encourage community networking. By 2005, the Arts Calendar had become electronic and A4 was reaching a record 4,000 subscribers to its eVOICE e-newsletter and online calendar. A4 began producing an annual Culture Pass booklet to broadcast events and shows going on within the Asian American NYC artistic community in an attempt to reach new audiences, distributing up to 10,000 Culture Passes a year. By 2006, A4 had expanded its staff and membership had grown to more than 100 members. In 2007, A4 received a major grant from the Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors’ New York State Music Fund to support local Asian American musicians at Soundfest, an all-day outdoor concert in Chinatown. As part of the ongoing CAMP project, A4 hosted a series of events and produced a short video, Creating Spaces for the Arts in Chinatown, to highlight key organizations and raise the profile of Chinatown arts and culture. In addition, it co-sponsored a holiday marketing campaign with Chinatown Partnership called SEE Chinatown – Shop, Eat, & Explore.

In the meantime, A4 was able to strengthen and expand its regrant programming. Between 2002 and 2008, the JPMorgan Chase SOAR Regrant Program, a continuation of the previous Chase SMARTS Regrant Program, was dedicated to awarding cash grants to small groups. In 7 rounds, SOAR awarded $246,020 in a total of 88 grants. In 2003, A4 partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to run Technical Assistance for Organizations (TAO), a special one-time regrant initiative awarding $72,000 in grants and technical assistance to support Asian American arts organizations struggling to survive post 9/11. Starting in 2006, A4 partnered with Harlem Arts Alliance, Association of Hispanic Arts, Queens Council on the Arts, New York Foundation of the Arts, Association of Hispanic Arts, Amerinda, National Museum of the American Indian and Bronx Council on the Arts, creating an unprecedented coalition to regrant funds to artists of color with the Urban Artist Initiative (UAI). UAI jointly granted more than $150,000 with A4 alone granting $68,400 to 46 individual artists over two years. Lastly, in 2007 A4 created the Chinatown Arts Initiative (CAI), which provided technical assistance and production grants to performing arts groups contributing to Chinatown’s cultural life. Through CAI, A4 granted a total of $50,500 over two years to 25 groups. Since 1995, A4 has granted a total of $761,609 to 105 different arts organizations and 56 individual artists.

The close of the 2000s was characterized by the massive crisis in the world financial markets, signaling a sustained downward spiraling of the international markets and a huge shift in the funding and employment of both artists as well as institutions throughout the U.S. By 2007, Asians and Asian Americans accounted for nearly 12% of New York City’s population, up from just 7% of the population in 1990. Asian America brought together more cultures, histories, and artistic traditions than ever before.

In a new socioeconomic atmosphere, and with the gradual elimination of its re-granting funds, A4 had to think strategically about new ways to serve its members and the Asian American arts community. In late 2008, A4 embarked on a twelve-month research initiative to take stock of its constituents’ conditions in the wake of the recession. Among other major findings, A4 found that 60% of artists in the community were making less than $10,000 a year from their art and that 40% of artists were accruing up to $5,000 each year in debt in order to create their work. These and other findings culminated in A4’s report:* Asian American Arts in NYC: A Snapshot of Current Trends and Issues.* Building upon its deep roots in the community, A4 endeavored to work as a connector, connecting people to each other and people to resources.

In early 2009, A4 launched Town Hall, a monthly series for artists, arts organizations, arts appreciators, and funders to come together and show their work, share news, learn about opportunities, and collaborate. In its first year, Town Hall brought together more than 600 people, including hundreds of individual artists across all disciplines and representatives of organizations with opportunities for artists such as Asia Society, Brooklyn Arts Council, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and New York Foundation for the Arts, among many others.


After a stewardship of 13 years, executive director Lillian Cho left A4 and was succeeded by interim executive director Janice Won. In May 2010, A4 launched a4Hub, the online counterpart to Town Hall. Following in the long lineage of information hubs that A4 has created through the years, a4Hub was a fully interactive online platform for artists and arts organizations to promote their work and events and share resources with each other. Also in 2010, A4 created and implemented Brainstorm!, a series of lively case-study based themed discussions on the artist as producer.

In August of 2010, the Asian American Arts Alliance welcomed Andrea Louie as the new executive director. Andrea spearheaded Locating the Sacred, a twelve-day festival in 2012 that presented artists in a variety of disciplines all across the city. She also launched new civic engagement initiatives; new professional development programs for individual artists; and a new fellowships and awards program for Asian American artists and arts administrators, which included the Wai Look Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts, the Jadin Wong Award for emerging Asian American dance artists, and Van Lier Fellowships for artists in the fields of theater, music, and visual arts. After eight years, Andrea stepped down from A4 and Lisa Gold was named the new executive director in the fall of 2018.

In 2023, A4 celebrated its 40th anniversary with a gala honoring Joanne Kwong of Pearl River Mart, DJ Rekha of Basement Bhangra, and artist activist Kate Siahaan-Rigg. View a special message from our community on the event of this milestone for the organization below!

Coalition of Small Arts NYC (CoSA NYC)

The Asian American Arts Alliance (A4) is proud to be a member of the Coalition of Small Arts NYC (CoSA NYC), an initiative created in the summer of 2020 to address the unfolding challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to strengthen organizational commitments to racial, social, economic, and environmental justice. CoSA NYC formed in recognition that together, small organizations are uniquely resilient and form a cornerstone of the cultural life of New York City. In its first phase, CoSA NYC raised a total of $1,600,000 that was shared equally among thirty-two organizations. Learn more HERE.


29 West 38th Street, 9 Fl
New York, NY 10018

Tel: (212) 941-9208
Fax: (212) 366-1778

Monday – Friday
10 am – 6 pm

Subway: BDFM/NQRW to 34 St - Herald Sq, NQRW to Times Sq - 42 St, and 7 to 5 Av. The nearest subway station with elevator access is 34 Street Herald Sq. (BDFM/NQRW).

Access-A-Ride: The nearest Access-A-Ride pickup location is at Port Authority Bus Terminal: West 42nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Accessibility Note

A4 is committed to creating inclusive and accessible programming. If you require any accommodations, please email jlee@aaartsalliance.org at least one week before an event or application deadline. We will do our best to accommodate.

Please find information about the accessibility features of our space below.

Building Entrance: Ground floor. The entry measures 37 inches wide, and 91 inches high. The door does not open automatically. Please call 212-941-9208 x303 or alert the lobby attendant if you need assistance.

Elevators: There are three passenger elevators. The third elevator from the front entrance is wheelchair accessible, with a door measuring 36 inches wide.

A4 Entrance: A4 is located on the 9th floor. The entry is equipped with double glass doors, each door measuring 36 inches wide.

Restrooms: On the 9th floor, there are two all-gender, multi-person occupancy ADA compliant restrooms.

Conference Room: Entry measures 36 inches wide and 84 inches high.