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'Just the beginning of a conversation' | Where to catch this AAPI art installation

After a successful display along Atlanta's BeltLine last year, the exhibit is going on the road to new locations.

ATLANTA — As Georgia's Asian American community is exploding with growth, people can familiarize themselves with icons and changemakers they hold dear by visiting two iconic venues in metro Atlanta.

After last year's successful display along Atlanta's BeltLine, the "ABCs of AAPIs" installation will be featured at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights for two Saturdays in May and several days at Coolray Field, the Gwinnett Stripers stadium. The Asian American Advocacy Fund is behind the exhibits.

"This project has always had a larger purpose and that is one of advocacy,"  Chany Chea with AAAF said. "It just felt right to continue doing this work."

As guests explore the history of civil and human rights in Atlanta, they can also get a crash course on Asian American and Pacific Islander icons that uplifted the movements many may recognize today. The installation honors phrases and historical figures in a 150 ft.-long display that gives a new take on the English alphabet.

"K is for Michelle Kwan, "F" is for Fred Korematsu and "N" is for not your model minority," Kavi Vu, a co-creative director of the project, previously told 11Alive.

These same images also fill the pages of a coloring book created by AAAF, which will be handed out at the exhibits hoping to get it into the hands of the youngest visitors.

"It's just we have such limited knowledge of how we got here, I think it's so important that we provide some context for young Asian-Americans who are growing up just kind of trying to find their place in society," Nicole Kang, an artist for the project and now a staff member with AAAF. "I think that's a lot of the struggles that we faced all individually when we were younger."

Kang said that the project was personal for her and is glad to see art that was intended as a resource now has the power to impact even more people.

"As an artist, when I was contributing to this coloring book, my hope was to just really spread the joy and beauty of being Asian-American," she said. "I really want people to expand their hearts and minds through this project and through the art that is created by Asian-Americans."

Though the installation and the coloring book were made with AAPI communities in mind, both Kang and Chea said the art is for a much wider audience.

"I think art is such an accessible way for people to engage with content," Chea said. "This is just a snapshot of a few folks a few narratives and I hope this encourages people to learn more. I hope this is just the beginning of a conversation."

AAAF is hosting several events throughout May in honor of AAPI heritage month. People can see those details here

However, Kang wants others to know that there's more to the communities that fall under the AAPI umbrella than what may be celebrated throughout the month.

"I just think the month of May is too short to celebrate all of the richness of AAPI communities," she said. "Our lives and our heritage and our stories should be recognized every day."

ABCs of AAPI exhibits

National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Saturday, May 13 | 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 20 | 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Coolray Field, Gwinnett Stripers Stadium
May 23 - May 28
*Special activities will be held alongside the exhibit during the Stripers game on May 28. View the Gwinnett Stripers schedule here.

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