Wing Luke Museum Advances Community Revitalization Efforts with Bank of America Grant
As celebrations for the Lunar New Year 2022 continue, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is announcing new support from Bank of America through a $1 million grant towards the organization’s work to enrich the residential and business communities in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (CID). Funding from the bank will support forthcoming capital building renovations, safety upgrades, and technology platform enhancements at the museum.
“It’s been over a decade since we restored the East Kong Yick Building as the Wing Luke Museum’s new home,” said Interim Executive Director Cassie Chinn. “On top of basic building needs, the pandemic has changed reality for all of us. We’re grateful for this funding that helps assure our future going forward.”
The pandemic has temporarily reduced the number of overall visitors to the museum, as well as to many of the nearby businesses. In addition to supporting museum projects, the grant will support tech platform enhancements and digital investments to advance work with more than 100 artists and 170+ small businesses though food and heritage neighborhood tours, Japanese American Remembrance Trail tours, Redlining Heritage Trail tours, neighborhood music/arts festivals, and marketing campaigns highlighting the rich stories and offerings of the museum and local businesses, whether small local restaurants, shops, or cultural organizations.
"It's great to have the Wing Luke Museum conducting the food tours because it brings in new guests into our restaurant and our part of CID. People usually don't know there is a Japantown in the CID and it is important that they provide exposure and history," noted Mike Vu from the Itsumono restaurant in Seattle’s Japantown.
Tanya Woo echoes the “welcome back” to the neighborhood sentiment. “My family owns the historic Louisa Hotel located a block from the Wing Luke Museum. We are home to 7 small businesses and 1930’s historic jazz murals. I am beyond excited that the Wing Luke Museum will be restarting their heritage tours. These tours fill the sidewalks with people, enhancing the visibility of all our small businesses. They contribute greatly to the economic vitality of our community.”
This grant builds on an existing relationship through Bank of America’s Museums on Us program and is aligned to the company’s effort to advance racial equality and economic opportunity through its $1.25 billion, five-year commitment.
Many CID residents face barriers to health, social, and economic success. Rapid development in the neighborhood has caused displacement and weakened access to basic needs – issues that have been exacerbated by the ongoing global health crisis.
“The Wing Luke Museum plays an essential role in recognizing and honoring the rich legacy of the Asian American Pacific Islander community in Seattle. Through this grant, they will be able to expand their impact even further, while supporting local small businesses which are vital to our economy,” said Kerri Schroeder, president, Bank of America Seattle. “We look forward to working with the Wing Luke Museum to increase economic opportunities for the people of Seattle, especially those who have faced long-standing barriers.”
This announcement is the latest in a series of investments that Bank of America has made in the Puget Sound region through nonprofit partners. In 2021, Bank of America invested $2.6 million in 54 nonprofits to support their work in career development, housing, food security, and education.
The Wing Luke Museum connects everyone to the dynamic history, cultures, and art of Asian Pacific Americans through vivid storytelling and inspiring experiences to advance racial and social equity. Located in Seatte’s historic Chinatown International District in the historic 1910 East Kong Yick Building, the Museum provides a look at Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander heritage, culture, and arts. Visit us and explore Seattle in a new way through eye-opening exhibits and a guided tour of what life was like for early Asian Pacific American immigrants.
Located at 719 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104; Open Thursday-Sunday 10am-5pm. http://www.wingluke.org
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Max Chan, Wing Luke Museum
Britney Sheehan, Bank of America