The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art is celebrating its 100-year anniversary in a two-week Centennial Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Festival that includes performances, film screenings, art exhibitions and panel discussions.
The museum was rebranded in 2019 when two Smithsonian institutions — Freer Gallery and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery — unified. It has since become a forum for cultural exchange where the arts of Asia are conserved and celebrated.
“Our vision is to transform the National Museum of Asian Art into a space where a wide range of visitors can come together to celebrate, learn about and interact with Asian art and cultures, including their intersection with America,” Chase Robinson, the museum’s director, said in a statement to The Observer.
“In our second century, we’re becoming a space to convene, learn, reflect and forge connections through art.”
They will take the stage in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building on May 13, and their performances will be broadcasted to visitors of the National Mall and Freer Plaza in Washington, D.C.
“Raised in the U.S. and inspired by their respective backgrounds, these artists embrace Korean and Indian influences as means of experimentation and self-expression and truly embody the Asian American experience,” Robinson previously said.
The festival will also feature Grammy Award-winning Korean American contemporary classical violinist Jennifer Koh, Syrian American rapper and poet Omar Offendum, Palestinian American multi-instrumentalist Ronnie Malley, Indian violinist Nistha Raj and Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon.
The celebration is anchored by three lead exhibitions: “A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur,” “Anyang: China’s Ancient City of Kings” and “Ay-Ō’s Happy Rainbow Hell.”
Visitors will be taken on a curator-led tour of the galleries before listening in on panel discussions with Asian American and Pacific Islander designers and digital creators.
From May 1 to May 14, visitors are also able to take different classes, from traditional and modern Asian dance and K-pop choreography to learning how to make kimchi and Indonesian food.
The museum’s film screenings will include the 1920s Japanese silent film “A Page of Madness,” hit Jeremy Lin documentary “38 at the Garden,” and two classic Chinese silent films with live accompaniment featuring reimagined scores by Min Xiao-Fen and River Guerguerian.
The Bank of America will be sponsoring the museum’s annual APA Heritage Month celebrations from 2023 through 2027.
“Each day, our museum welcomes visitors to learn about the arts and cultures of Asia free of charge. This sponsorship allows us to create ambitious and memorable experiences during this major celebration, and to engage new audiences with the creativity and diversity of Asian cultures,” Robinson said in a press release.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.