Upcoming Town Halls
*Also, check our new Town Hall Review Tumblr site designed by
Alliance Social Media Consultant Arlene Ellis!
What it is
Town Hall is the Asian American Arts Alliance's regular gathering for the Asian American creative community. It has taken place every first Tuesday of the month since February 2009 and brings together artists, arts workers, curators, producers, as well as other professionals from non-profits and other sectors, to share ideas, promote events, learn about opportunities and find collaborators. Town Hall is intended to nurture and catalyze the creative energy of this vibrant community by providing a regular, safe space for people to come together and be inspired.
The format of Town Hall is simple. The event lasts two hours. During the first hour you can give a one-minute pitch or a performance of up to four minutes. You can pitch to promote an event, to ask for help or collaborators for a project, to show a trailer for your new film, to inform others about a new grant or new residency program, or simply to introduce yourself to the community. The second hour is a potluck where you are free to enjoy the food and the presence of others.
Town Hall has and continues to take place in different locations each month, including in Manhattan at Chen Dance Center in Chinatown; at the Asian / Asian American Research Institute (CUNY) in Midtown; at Greenwich House Music School in Greenwich Village; at New York Insight Meditation Center or the LGBT Center, both in Chelsea. We have also had Town Halls in Flushing, Queens, and DUMBO and Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Why we do it
a4 has historically been a hub for information sharing and dissemination. We grew out of the civil rights movement and our mandate has been to find, circulate and share information and resources for and about our community. In this sense we have been building community from our very beginnings. Town Hall provides a physical space for our community at large to come together to reinforce existing ties and create new ones. With these monthly gatherings, we hope to support our community in developing a sense of self-worth and collective identity, from which can spring rich and unusual collaborations and partnerships, inspiring people to fulfill their ambitions and dreams.
Town Hall attracts artists in all disciplines: musicians, composers, dancers, choreographers, actors, filmmakers, visual artists, writers, designers and others. We also get many arts workers from small to large arts organizations, including from the Harlem Arts Alliance, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Museum of Chinese in America, Public Theater, Rubin Museum and many others. Additionally, Town Hall welcomes professionals from other sectors, including colleagues from other non-profit organizations. Many funders have come to Town Hall to present grant opportunities, including Asian Women Giving Circle, Brooklyn Arts Council, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Queens Council on the Arts and many others. City Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Peter Koo, both of Queens, have also participated.
What people say
“The session this morning was truly inspiring. Such an abundance of talent!”
-Jonathan Hollander, Battery Dance Company
“I've met many people at Town Hall that have led to new alliances…I learned about the [Lower Manhattan Cultural Council] grant at one of the Town Halls, applied and recently found out that I am getting funding for a new project. It is the first Asian American networking event I have ever been to (repeatedly) that genuinely feels like community bridge building.”
-Christine Toy Johnson, Filmmaker
“Thank you for letting me do my pitch today. It was great to hear about the work that artists are doing in the community.”
-Cheryl Ikemiya, Senior Program Officer for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
“We are always grateful to you for this forum to promote our events and the networking opportunities afterwards. This is what makes a4 unique in that these events are bringing people together not just for events and projects but for ‘community’.”
-Karen Kriegel and Athena Najat, Dancers
“QCA connected with a4 and Theresa Loong at a Town Hall and subsequently, they participated in a professional development panel that QCA held re: Kickstarter. Wonderful community connections demonstrate how mutually beneficial the Town Halls are.”
-Jackie de Dios, Queens Council on the Arts
“The greatest benefit of all has been the nurturing and supportive environment that I always experience at every Town Hall--it is as if I have found a whole new "family" of brothers and sisters all engaged in the arts. I find every Town Hall inspiring and come out of them "high" on artistic excitement."
-Caroline Sun, Visual Artist
Town Halls benefit greatly from volunteers. We welcome any help you might like to offer. Town Hall Volunteer roles include:
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Alex at ayoung [at] aaartsalliance [dot] org with the subject line “TOWN HALL VOLUNTEER”.
Images courtesy of Elena Chang, Elena D, Kevin Huang, Ashok Sinha, Jinjin Sun, and Maria Gonzalez Terrazas.
At every Town Hall, we hold a potluck. Check out some of the photos and recipes of some of the great dishes we’ve had at Town Hall.
In order to make Town Hall the best possible platform for engagement and inspiration for all participants, please follow the following general Participation Guidelines.
- RSVP: If you intend to attend Town Hall, please make sure to RSVP. This allows Alliance staff to estimate attendance and make appropriate arrangements with the venue. You can RSVP online (http://aaartsalliance.org/page/town-hall) or by calling Jinjin Sun, Program & Communications Assistant, at 212-941-9208 ext. 2. Please indicate how many people will be joining you and their names, and if you would like to make a pitch.
- Pitches: Pitches are opportunities for you to make a one-minute announcement, or to give a performance of up to four minutes. Please be sure to rehearse your pitch or performance so that it fits within these time frames. If you intend to make a pitch, please rsvp at the latest the Friday before the following Tuesday’s Town Hall. When you rsvp, please indicate your technical needs and whether you would like the Alliance to play your media / display your web site while you are making your pitch.
If you have RSVPed to make a pitch and are no longer able to attend, please contact Jinjin Sun immediately at jsun [at] aaartsalliance.org so that she can free up your pitch slot for another participant. If you fail to show up or to inform the Alliance of your inability to attend more than three times, we cannot guarantee that you will be given a pitch slot in the future.
- Media: In Town Hall venues where we have access to the Internet, it is possible for the Alliance to play your media / display your web site, while you are doing your pitch. Please either send materials (such as URL) in your rsvp, or arrive no later than 30 minutes before the start of Town Hall to preload your items onto our computer. Once the event has begun, we are not able to display your media if you have not informed us ahead of time.
- Start Time: Morning Town Halls begin at 10am; Evening Town Halls begin at 6pm. The Alliance intends to begin on time. Please make sure to arrive on time so that you may have an opportunity to introduce yourself to the rest of the attendees during the round of introductions.
- Potluck: The Town Hall is a potluck. We ask that you bring some food or drinks to share with your fellow Town Hall participants. If you are unable to provide something for the potluck, please make a $5 donation toward it, which the Alliance will use toward subsequent Town Hall potlucks.
- Photography:Please request permission from an Alliance staff person before taking photos that include other participants. We ask that you please make available to the Alliance any photos you take during Town Hall so that these can be featured on the Town Hall online photo gallery. Please send images to Jinjin Sun at jsun [at] aaartsalliance.org.
- Large items: Because of space and security requirements at the different venues at which we host Town Hall, we are no longer able to accommodate large items in or around the Town Hall room, such as suitcases, large carts or any other oversized items.
- Appropriate and respectful conduct: If a person is deemed to be disrupting the Town Hall, as assessed by Alliance staff, venue staff, Town Hall participants or other, the Alliance reserves the right to ask that individual to leave the event. If the person is uncooperative, the Alliance may call upon the venue’s security to ensure the person’s removal.
Thank you for helping to make the Alliance’s Town Hall a safe community space for all!