This Saturday is my college, Bryn Mawr’s, Asian American Culture Show, also known as Asian American Students’ Association’s (AASA) biggest event of the year. After months of preparation and lost hours of sleep, I’m taking a step back and reflecting on the overall process.
At a small liberal arts college, there’s no film school to shoot a professional looking teaser. There’s no arts school to design the posters and graphics. As a result, those English and Physics majors have to step up to the plate. I’ve successfully mastered the art of iMovie and Apple Pages (I’m too cheap for Final Cut Pro and Photoshop). Though a trailer and posters are nice to have (and of course, a Facebook page and event), our tangible presence via flyers around campus matters just as much as our online social media presence. Maybe the one definite benefit of a small school is a small campus to spread flyers around.
East coast colleges are also at a slight disadvantage due to location. East coast, small, higher education institutions are not diverse enough to have students to represent every type of Asian affinity group. It's a wide known fact that California is the heart of Asian America and the entertainment industry. This year, my AASA are flying in two spoken word artists from California. Those plane tickets add up. That’s not to say there aren’t any new emerging Asian American artists on the East Coast, you just might have to search harder.
The great thing about student events is that there will always be school funding for your event. (As if putting together a single event is a representative for the college's so-called "rich" diversity). In real life, though, who supports the arts? Even more importantly, who supports a minority's art? If we don't continue passing down our history and culture, no one will.
That’s why I have some take away questions that I considered, and ones that I think others should as well:
- How have you passed down your knowledge of how to run cultural events to the next leaders? Institutional Memory? Digital archiving?
- What are some challenges you faced when having to collaborate with administration, faculty, staff? For funding? Publicity? Logistics? Outreach?
- What's the difference between bringing together undergrad students versus graduate students versus adults? At Public vs. Private Institutions? At Small vs. Large Institutions? East Coast vs. West Coast?