Twenty-five artists are selling their work to save Chinese archives destroyed by a massive fire in January.
A major percentage of historical records owned by the Museum of Chinese in America was lost from water damage when a fire tore through the roof and upper floors of an old school house at 70 Mulberry Street on January 24. The museum stored 85,000 pieces of historical materials there and about 20 percent of it was lost.
Items included old restaurant menus from long-gone Chinatown restaurants, ticket stubs from theaters, family photos, letters, artwork and store signs.
With about 80 percent still salvagable, the museum is working to repair, recover and rebuild its collection.
To help, Wing on Wo, the oldest store in Chinatown, and the W.O.W. Project, an initiative that works to preserve and encourage Chinatown's culture through the arts and activism, are holding a silent art auction of works by over 25 artists to bolster recovery efforts.
On now through 11:45pm on February 24, the auction features work from the likes of Marian Bill, Bud Glick, Tiffany Tang, Diana Zeng and others with a goal of $8,000. The number eight in Chinese culture symbolized abundance and prosperity.
"The potential loss of MOCA’s archives hits home for a lot of our community members’ who have donated pieces of their family history to the MOCA collection in hopes of contributing their voice and story to the Chinese American experience," Mei Lum, the fifth generation owner of Wing on Wow and founder of the W.O.W Project. "MOCA has been the steward of preserving and protecting Chinatown’s history and culture since it’s beginnings in the '80s and it’s only fitting that we show up and support them in this time of need."
She said that W.O.W. believes that art is power and can be a form of activism.
Bids can be cast at 32auctions.com/afterthefirewerise.
The effort joins another on gofundme.com, created by MOCA, which has raised nearly $411,000 (as of Thursday). As part of this fundraiser, staffing company Comrise will match dollar for dollar for the recovery.