Instill neighborhood pride.
Enable people to establish new relationships and networks.
Integrate art and design with social praxis.
Democratize access to art through technology.
Foster critical dialogue.
Provide a deeper understanding of creativity.
Respond to gentrification.
The Gallery at Chinatown Soup is a curated space that invites artists to participate in a creative community outside of “the art world.” When the gallery isn’t hosting emerging artist pop-ups, Soup exhibits re-contextualize artworks to make alternative narratives visible, granting a fresh awareness to traditional understandings of space and place through radical storytelling. For us, a visionary approach to the arts is both reflective and future-focused from a hyper-present perspective. This connective strategy is an example of creative placemaking, which proposes arts-based solutions to community challenges as economic forces and government policies drive real estate’s corporate-condo development and displace residents. Chinatown Soup recognizes the persistence of a false dichotomy between residents and artists when the reality is that we’re all creative individuals. By opening up the limited notion of what it means to be an artist we find the ways people of all backgrounds can experiment and innovate to preserve neighborhoods.
The Studio at Chinatown Soup is an underground space where resident artists work and play. From here, we print zines, design clothes, and make art to display in our upstairs shop. A variety of programming from theater productions to meditations to mini concerts and more also happens on a rotating basis. Inspired by the Basement Workshop of 1970s Chinatown, an activist collective begun by a group of young urban planners and artists that grew from scavenging discarded street furniture and benefit dances to spawning the Museum of Chinese in America, Soup's basement is a laboratory for the experimental and conscious.
"At birth, we emerge from dream soup.
At death, we sink back into dream soup.
In between soups, there is a crossing of dry land. Life is a portage."
— Tom Robbins