Asia Society Texas Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month With Free Exhibition Admission, Live Programs, and More
HOUSTON, June 1, 2023 — Asia Society Texas celebrated the 31st anniversary of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with the third annual presentation of its 31 Ways to Celebrate APAH Month calendar.
Designated as APAH Month in 1992, May was selected by Congress in commemoration of the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. in May 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1859 that was made possible by thousands of Chinese laborers. The month has since been a dedicated time to honor Asian Pacific American heritage.
Built around AST's robust lineup of live programs, the calendar also featured staff recommendations, spotlights on local artists and community partners, and a curated selection of on-demand activities, interviews, and past performances.
On the first weekend of May, the Center's sold-out Celebrating Incredible India! program marked the 75th anniversary of India's independence through an evening of fashion, dance, and food in partnership with the Consulate General of India in Houston. The second annual BIPOC Book Fest centered underrepresented voices through a showcase of panels, readings, and a book fair centering Black, Indigenous, people of color, and other creatives of marginalized communities.
AST concluded the eighth year of its signature Women's Leadership Series with a star-studded panel of Houston news anchors, featuring Shern-Min Chow, Melanie Lawson, Pooja Lodhia, and Rekha Muddaraj in conversation with Ginger Koto Vaughn as they reflected on their careers and the challenges and changes they have observed in the news industry. Other panel discussions throughout the month highlighted topics such as AAPI mental health access, digital hate speech in a post-truth society, the legacy of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and trade and investment between Western Australia and Texas. AST also welcomed pianist Eunbi Kim, who presented an immersive multimedia performance of her sonic memoir it feels like a dream.
Throughout May, guests enjoyed free admission to exhibition Summoning Memories: Art Beyond Chinese Traditions. In addition to expanded art tour dates for the general public, various K–12 schools and companies participated in docent-led gallery tours. A full-day symposium — featuring tours, presentations, and conversations with guest curator Dr. Susan L. Beningson; featured artists Bingyi, Zheng Chongbin, and Cui Fei; and visiting curators Dr. Hiromi Kinoshita and Dr. Zoe Song-Yi Kwok — was also free and open to the public. The month concluded with a reception and tour of the exhibition exclusive to AST members.
Outreach and offsite events included a community storytelling event at Houston Public Library, a virtual kick-off celebration with Regions Bank, the ACE Asian Heritage Fair at ExxonMobil, and the Space Cowboys' inaugural AAPI Heritage Night at Constellation Field. AST's Education and Outreach Manager Phuong Ha spoke at Houston Public Library on AAPI superheroes and comic creators and the importance of representation in comic books, while Japan Outreach Educator Nina Shimaguchi brought interactive workshops and activities to the Japan Festival Houston and various Harris County Public Library branches, including Northwest Branch, Octavia Fields, and High Meadows. At the end of the month, AST board member Janae Tsai threw the ceremonial first pitch at the Houston Astros' AAPI Heritage Night at Minute Maid Park.
Sponsors of AST's APAH Month festivities included the Asian American Bar Association of Houston, Comcast, and The Heimbinder Family Foundation.
Previous APAH Month Calendars
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.