Immediate Release:
August 29, 2018

For Further Information:
Chinatown Community Development Center, Erika Gee, (415) 984-1497, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Creative Work Fund, Frances Phillips or Faiza Bukhari, 415-402-2793, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Release

Chinatown Community Development Center and Lenora Lee Receive $40,000 from the Creative Work Fund to Create a New Work in Chinatown And the Community Will Rise

stories in motion

stories in motion

San Francisco – Chinatown Community Development Center (Chinatown CDC) with Lenora Lee is one of the recipients for 2018 Creative Work Fund. This is the first award for Chinatown CDC as the Creative Work Fund awards are highly competitive and are recommended by committees of distinguished panelists. The $40,000 grant awarded to Chinatown CDC is one of 15 new grants totaling $552,800 to Northern California artists who are collaborating with local nonprofit organizations to create new works in media arts and performing arts. Creative Work Fund grants celebrate the role of artists as problem solvers and the making of art as a profound contribution to intellectual inquiry and to the strengthening of communities.

Lenora Lee is collaborating with media designer Olivia Ting, composer Francis Wong, and Chinatown CDC to create and present a new site-specific, multimedia, immersive dance project, And the Community Will Rise, focused on stories from residents of the Ping Yuen housing complex, the first public high-rise housing in the U.S. in San Francisco’s Chinatown. As many of the public housing spaces have been underutilized because of poor conditions and safety issues, this project will activate and harness these underutilized community spaces by engaging Ping Yuen residents in gathering and telling neighborhood stories and history, helping residents and the public to understand the role of public housing for Chinese immigrants, American-born Chinese, and other ethnicities in the Chinatown neighborhood and larger American history.

Drawing from diverse styles of dance and music inspired by the residents’ stories, the final, full-length 60-minute immersive work will be presented in the Ping Yuen housing complex, utilizing the complex’s common indoor and courtyard spaces and selected apartments. The piece will premier in September 2020 as Chinatown CDC concludes the improvements of the nearly 70-year-old buildings, which involved temporarily relocating residents to renovate their units, the systems, and safety and security. This work is part of the Rental Assistance Demonstration program.

Lenora Lee says “I am honored to be working with the Chinatown Community Development Center to integrate the history and experiences of low income and immigrant communities within our And The Community Will Rise project. Through struggle, discrimination, perseverance, hope, courage, envisioning and manifestation, these communities thrive have made countless contributions to Bay Area and beyond.”

Norman Fong, Chinatown CDC’s executive director says, “Through this program, we are excited to lift up people of color, including Chinese and African American voices that are too often ignored. It is so important that this piece will provide local, easily accessible opportunities for Chinatown residents to experience the arts in culturally familiar ways to help build community pride and connect neighborhood residents.”

Through the And The Community Will Rise project, Chinatown CDC is continuing efforts to create cultural programming that is reflective of the neighborhood’s cultural identity and tells the stories of and responds to the community. This project expands on recent cultural programming such as the exhibits at 41 Ross, such as Chinatown Pretty on local seniors’ fashion and Chinatown Home Cooking on immigrant home chefs; a Power in Unity documentary on the Community Tenants Association by Emmy-nominated filmmaker James Q. Chan; and Stories in Motion, collaborative music, dance and projection performances by Asian Improv aRts.

Since 1994, the Creative Work Fund has contributed $12.6M to advance art-making by Northern California artists working in a variety of disciplines. Grants range from $10,000 to $40,000. For the 2018 grant cycle, the Fund invited applications from media and performing artists living in the nine greater Bay Area Counties.

“The 2018 Creative Work Fund grant application pool reflected an urgent concern — shared by many artists — about continuing to afford life in the Bay Area,” said Frances Phillips, Program Director of the Creative Work Fund since its founding in 1994. “Displacement and neighborhood change are at the heart of Sophie Constantinou’s continuing work at the Buchanan Mall in San Francisco’s Western Addition, Ivan Iturriaga’s web series focused on North Oakland, and choreographer Lenora Lee’s work in San Francisco’s Chinatown.”

“Even with this overarching concern,” Phillips continued, “some of these collaborations are quite joyful, as when classical Indian and classical Western musicians work together, or when a younger generation of drummers creates a new work with U.S. pioneers of Japanese taiko drumming.”

Lenora Lee has been a dancer, choreographer and artistic director for the past 20 years in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. She has been an Artist Fellow at the de Young Museum, a Djerassi Resident Artist, an Artist in Residence at Dance Mission Theater, and a Visiting Scholar at New York University 2012-2016. Lee directs Lenora Lee Dance, which creates works that are both set in public and private spaces, intimate and at the same time large-scale, inspired by individual stories as well as community strength. For the last 11 years, Lenora has been pushing the envelope of large-scale multimedia dance performance that connects various styles of movement and music to culture, history and human rights issues. Her work has grown to encompass the creation, presentation and screening of films, museum and gallery installations, civic engagement and educational programming. For more information visit:

The Creative Work Fund was initiated in 1994 by four Bay Area foundations that wanted to contribute to the creation of new artworks and support local artists. It is now a program of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund that also is supported by a generous grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

For further information, contact Frances Phillips or Faiza Bukhari at the Creative Work Fund (415) 402-2793; or visit or

Founded in 1977, Chinatown Community Development Center (Chinatown CDC or CCDC) goal is to build affordable housing, develop grassroots leadership, and empower low-income residents and youth for civic engagement in San Francisco. Chinatown CDC owns and/or manages 29 properties in San Francisco totaling 2,500 units of affordable housing for nearly 3,700 low-income seniors, formerly homeless adults, and families. Chinatown CDC residents are diverse and speak 14 languages including English, Chinese, Tagalog, Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese. For more information visit:


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