Call for Submissions

What Can We Do?

Asian American Arts Alliance

20 Jay Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201


Jul 24, 2022


Jun 28, 2022


What Can We Do? (WCWD) presented by the Asian American Arts Alliance (A4) is a micro-grant opportunity for artists looking to support the AAPI community in NYC with engaging, creative projects rooted in care. Honoring the power of art as healing, WCWD invites artists with a desire to affect change in their communities to carry out a project, however small, within a two-month period, planting a seed that may grow beyond the program.

The sharp increase in anti-Asian hate and violence during the pandemic has caused many Asian New Yorkers to experience grief, anxiety, fear, feelings of unsafety and overwhelm. A survey of Asian seniors released in March 2022 by the Asian American Federation found that 75 percent fear leaving their homes due to the anti-Asian violence across the city. In response, many mutual aid groups, direct service organizations, and community and business leaders have stepped in to take care of elders and other vulnerable AAPI community members.

WCWD gives artists a chance to find their place in the care ecosystem either by complementing existing services and offerings, or creating their own.

The primary objectives of the program are to quickly and effectively fund and support creative projects with a simple, no-fuss application and selection process; and to cultivate a space for artists to collaborate with each other and participating community organizations.


For this program, 30 NYC-based artists will be selected as project awardees by a random draw. They will receive $500 to create and carry out ideas to engage, aid, and care for the Asian New Yorker community with a focus on (but not limited to) Manhattan, Chinatown, Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Projects may take many forms such as performing music for seniors waiting in line at food pantries or leading workshops to create ‘zines that reinforce positive aspects of AAPI culture. While we prefer projects to be in-person activities, we understand that for safety reasons, projects may need to be virtual.

Artists may apply with an idea and community in mind, but it is not required. If you have a strong desire to be a part of a project, but do not have an idea or community in mind yet, we will be asking you to name skills and ways you’d like to contribute. If you are selected, A4 will assist in connecting you with other artists and/or community organizations.

Projects completed during the program may also plant a seed that leads to a larger project that might be realized beyond the two-month scope.

A selection of community organizations and nonprofits we can connect you to:

  • Hamilton-Madison House – Hamilton-Madison House is a voluntary, non-profit settlement house dedicated to improving the quality of life of its community, primarily those in the Two Bridges/Chinatown area of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

  • YWCA of Queens – The YWCA of Queens serves over 5,000 families annually through its multi-generational and cross-cultural services. With our overarching goal to address the diverse needs of Queens residents, we are able to stand as a beacon in the communities we serve and offer integral services to encourage educational, economic and personal well-being.

  • YWCA of Brooklyn – YWCA Brooklyn offers a safe haven for survivors of gender-based violence, an opportunity for teens and immigrant women to enhance their lives, and a hub for advocacy and community action. We work daily to level the playing field for all Brooklynites while truly empowering women and girls.

  • Sapna NYC, Inc. – Sapna NYC is a 501©(3) not for profit organization transforming the lives of South Asian immigrant women by improving health, expanding economic opportunities, creating social networks, and building a collective voice for change. We recognize that women are the backbone of our families and that by empowering women, we are impacting whole families and uplifting entire communities. We strive to increase access for the women in our community – access to services, access to knowledge and information, access to systems, and access to pathways for social mobility

  • Communities Resist – Communities Resist is a community-based legal services and advocacy organization established and led by people of color to empower, educate and represent low-income communities and community coalitions preventing gentrification and displacement. Understanding that housing is a human right, the fight for tenants’ rights and housing justice must advance racial, gender, and economic justice.

  • SAYA – Established in 1996, South Asian Youth Action (SAYA) is a 501©3 youth development organization providing accessible, safe, and culturally affirming year-round programming to New York City students. While South Asian-focused, SAYA is inclusive and committed to connecting youth from all backgrounds to opportunities. The SAYA experience offers mentorship beyond the classroom so students confidently grow into engaged community leaders ready for college, career, and personal success.

  • Mixteca – Mixteca Organization Inc. is a community-based organization located in Sunset Park. It was established in 2000 by a group of concerned community members to address critical needs in health, education, social and legal issues facing the burgeoning Mexican and Latin American immigrant community in Brooklyn.


An information session for those interested in applying was held on Wednesday, July 6 from 12:00-1:00 pm EDT via Zoom. You can find a recording of the info session HERE.


The Asian American Arts Alliance (A4) 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 and Pacific Islander artists in all disciplines.


Are you a NYC-based artist or community leader interested in exploring and/or developing a creative project with the aim to offer care for the Asian community in New York? Do you feel you want to do something about anti-Asian hate and violence and its effects on the community, but don’t know what or how? Your skills and talents can make a difference, and we want to hear from you.

What Can We Do? is seeking 30 participants with a range of artistic expression, social justice / social impact expertise, organizing frameworks, and lived experiences.

Eligibility Criteria includes:

  • A resident of New York City & primarily based in New York City during the program period (this program will take on a hybrid form).
  • All disciplines and stages of artistic exploration/developments, activism, community organizing, educational practice, and thought leadership are welcome. No prior organizing experience required.
  • Demonstrate a willingness or an interest in community work and care for vulnerable populations
  • Create or develop an existing or new project that centers community building, healing, reflection, and joy, and not limited to being solely reactionary to moments of crisis or protest. The project can be a one-time gesture or an ongoing, longer term idea as long as its intentions are rooted in community and care.
  • The event or project must take place within the two month period (August 1 - September 30, 2022)
  • Must be at least 21 years of age


As part of the program, participants will:

  • Carry out their project idea in the months of August and/or September, providing periodical progress updates to A4;
  • Write and submit a final report of their work including 2 photographs, the community they served, its impact, and any next steps;
  • Receive an honorarium of $500 per artist

The program schedule is as follows:

July 5, 2022 Application opens
July 6, 2022 Pre-submission Information Session (12-1pm EDT)
July 24, 2022 Deadline for all submissions (by 11:59 pm EDT)
July 26, 2022 Applications selected based on random draw
July 27, 2022 Awardees notified
Aug 1-Sept 30 2022 Awardees carry out project
October 3, 2022 Final reports due
October 6, 2022 Project share out & potluck

This program is presented by the Asian American Arts Alliance (A4) and made possible through support from the Asian American Federation (AAF).

Application Instructions

Applications are CLOSED. Thank you for your interest!

Click HERE to access to online application through Jotform.
Click HERE to access a recording of the Info Session in which we discussed guidelines, timeline, and answered questions.
To download an accessible copy of the application questions and guidelines, click HERE.