Chinatown Oral Histories Project: 

A Series of Social History Interventions in collaboration with Asian Cultural Experience (ACE), Salinas, CA.   

The Chinatown Oral Histories Project is an Asian Cultural Experience (ACE) initiative in partnership with VPA. Our fall 2018 partnership featured a series of interventions by VPA 306S: Digital Public Art Students: Laird Aceves-Aseves, Alyssa Arasawa, Evelyn Arias, Diana Bravo, Claudia Castro, Ana Cervantes, Coby Chai, Taylor Coburn, Emily DeCruz, Chelsea Frase, Stephanie Godinez, Xana Goulart, Justin Lupien, Alicia Maduena, Jacqueline Marquez, Justin Marquez, Yollette Merritt, Seamus Noll, Kaitlin Reynolds, Modesty Sams, Martin Tellez, and Beau Thomas. 

Faculty Lead & Service Learning Instructor:  

Jesus Aguilar

Service Learning Project Manager: 

Prof. Angelica Muro

About Project:

In fall 2018, Angelica Muro, Dionicio Mendoza, and Jesus Aguilar spearheaded a Chinatown Art intervention in collaboration with Asian Cultural Experience (ACE). This 3-month long project enabled CSUMB students to apply their art practices within a real-world context, which included the diverse and sometimes difficult social and historical issues of Chinatown.  Students created site specific and ephemeral urban art intervention on the streets and fences of Salinas’ Chinatown—an area that is often referred to as a forgotten and isolated part of the city that is often plagued with crime and now a haven for the homeless.  Drawing upon interviews from ACE’s Chinatown Walking Tour, students created “municipal street signage” containing texts with memories, poetry, and messages of hope relating to the area’s Revitalization Plan. They produced a total of 66 signs that blended into the complex ecosystem that is Soledad Street and Salinas Chinatown, and installed 22 of them live during Chinatown’s 1st Annual Block Party on November 18, 2017.

The VPA department is committed to multilingual, multicultural, gender-equitable learning, and actively engages a curriculum that is student-centered and society serving, which focuses on regional needs that involve both inner-city and isolated rural populations within our Tri-County communities (Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito).

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