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Guide to the Asian American Arts Centre Records TAM.613

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Rachel Schimke, 2012-2013; Alexandra Gomer, 2018.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 05, 2020
Finding aid is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Updated to include materials integrated from accession number 2018.115 by Alexandra Gomer. Record updated by Rachel Searcy to reflect January 2019 accretion Record updated by Marissa Grossman to reflect rehousing of materials  , September 2018 , February 2019 , March 2020

Historical Note

The Asian American Arts Centre, founded in 1974 as Asian American Dance Theatre, is one of the older community arts organizations in New York City Chinatown. The current name, Asian American Arts Centre, was adopted in 1987 to encompass both the dance company (Asian American Dance Theatre) and the visual arts program, Asian Arts Institute, initiated in 1984.

The Asian American Arts Centre began the Asian American Artists' Slide Archive in 1982. Artist vertical files were developed and accumulated as a permanent research archive documenting the history of Asian/Pacific American Artists in the United States since 1945 to the present. The archive contains not only slides but also a variety of materials that are both primary and secondary sources from approximately 1,500 artists.

In 1986, the Asian American Art Centre initiated a research project with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation called the "Milieu" series. The project focused on Asian American artists from the post World War era (1945 to1965), contextualized them and their artwork within this historical setting, and provided a historical precedent for the cultural presence of young Asian American artists. About ninety artists who began their career between 1945 to 1965 were selected and extensive research was conducted for many of them, resulting in extensive documents and materials in their files. Some were interviewed in their native language and documentation from these interviews has also been archived.

In 2007, the Asian American Art Centre created a new archive, the AAAC Artist Archive, from a part of the original slide archive as part of its digitization project. 150 artists who exemplified the major issues that compose the subject of Asian American art were selected and their materials processed for long-term archival preservation. Selected materials from these 150 artists were in turn digitized and made available on the website The centre's creation of and commitment to preserve and make accessible its Artist Archive is part of the organization's greater mission to "promote the preservation and creative vitality of Asian American cultural growth through the arts, and its historical and aesthetic linkage to other communities."