San Francisco – Chinatown is getting a new arts and media center after Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, secured $26.5M in state funding to help the Chinatown Media and Arts Collaborative (CMAC) purchase a site for Edge on the Square. Called the state’s first Asian and Pacific Islander (API)-focused destination of its kind for regional visitors and tourists, CMAC hopes to create a fresh narrative of equity and inclusion, fostering greater understanding through the works of artists, performers, activists, technologists and educators.
“The alarming increase in hate incidents against members of the API community tells us we must invest in ways to educate people by promoting the numerous contributions and value that APIs have brought to the fabric of California and this country. Edge on the Square will be a place to learn and open minds, while also giving our API community a safe space to be seen and heard,” said Ting.
Edge on the Square will be located at 800 Grant Avenue one block from the historic Portsmouth Square. The plans include a centralized visitors’ center and a year-round venue for presentations, exhibits, shows and more. Project leader Mabel Teng envisions the center to feature contemporary works that dominate current headlines, such as social justice, climate change and racial equity.
“As the oldest Chinatown in the U.S., San Francisco’s Chinatown has been the social and cultural capital of our Chinese community,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “After years of discussion, I’m thrilled that Edge on the Square will move forward so Chinatown emerges stronger after the pandemic, recession and anti-Asian hate. By uplifting our community's experiences, this once-in-a-generation project will celebrate equity, inclusion and social justice, and ensure Chinatown is a beacon for generations to come.”
“Under the leadership of Assemblymember Ting, the state gave our community a legacy gift, a game changer that will be a strong API voice for change. California’s investment will galvanize public and private philanthropy as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to open hearts and change minds. Edge on the Square will be a new icon for the City and the state for a strong Asian American voice that is inclusive and transformational,” said Teng.
CMAC is an unprecedented partnership that formed to establish Edge on the Square. Its founding members include Chinese for Affirmative Action, the Center for Asian American Media, the Chinese Culture Center & Foundation of San Francisco, the Chinatown Community Development Center, Angel Island Immigration Foundation and the Chinese Historical Society of America.
They see the new platform as a transformative addition to Chinatown, complementing the area’s existing restaurants and businesses and spurring economic development. The seven organizations represent best practices in their field and each will contribute their expertise to ensure a successful launch of Edge on the Square, which is slated to open in late 2024.