AAAS 2023 Tours

Long Beach Asian American and Pacific Islander Community Arts 

Description: This tour will explore Long Beach’s Asian American and Pacific Islander cultural arts and museum sites, comparatively, with a focus on community arts and guided conversations at two museums. We will visit three sites with relevance as gathering spaces for artists, cultural workers, and the arts in Long Beach: Pacific Islander Ethnic Art Museum (PIEAM), Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), and Bel Canto Books/ Retro Row. The Pacific Islander Ethnic Art Museum (PIEAM) serves as a community house to amplify the collective wisdom of the Pacific Islands people of Oceania, through reciprocity, permission, and care and was founded in 1994. MOLAA is dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latinx art, founded in 1996, focusing on cross-cultural dialogue between artists, scholarly communities, and the general public. Bel Canto Books is a women and Filipinx-owned bookstore in Long Beach’s retro row that brings people together through readings, workshops, book clubs, and other events since 2018.  

Details:

The tour features the following: 

  • The tour will begin at noon at Retro Row, first to hear from and meet with Jhoanna Belfer, Bel Canto Bookstore owner, on the history of the space, and how the store functions as a community arts space. Participants will then have about 45 minutes of open-ended time to visit and spend at Bel Canto Books, as well as to grab their own meal or peruse other stores in the area. The bus will pick participants up at Bel Canto Books at the allotted time.
  • Next, participants will visit PIEAM, as both a site with exhibits/community offerings but also a hub for other local artists. Participants will interactively engage with different mediums of art/performance, including: watch a 10 minute excerpt of Teada Production’s Masters of the Currents and hear from creators Leilani Chan and Ova Saopeng; hear from PIEAM director Auntie Fran about museum offerings and engagement. After, participants can walk through the space alongside a cultural tour/knowledge sharing. 
  • Next participants will walk across the street to MOLAA and meet with MOLAA VP of Learning and Public Programs, Dr. Alison Henely for a general tour.

Cambodia Town

Description: This cultural and political community tour takes you through the heart of Cambodia Town, the vibrant center of the community in Long Beach. The tour will be led by Sithea and Richer San, the founders of Cambodia Town. We will visit the cultural, religious, and community sites and businesses in the area designated as “Cambodia Town.” Cambodia Town itself is a multi-ethnic and multi-generational community and is composed of Latinx (60%), Asian (21%), Black (12%), and White (7%) communities. It has its own histories of displacement of indigenous Tongva communities, redlining, and now serves as a business and community corridor to the largest population of Cambodians in the U.S., impacted by gentrification. To support the local transit, we will reserve a bus with Long Beach transit.  

Stops:  

  1. We will begin at Mark Twain public library, which has the largest Khmer language collection in the US. 
  2. Then, we will go to one of 15 Khmer Buddhist temples in the city of Long Beach. Here, we will engage in a blessing with the monks, and should you wish, make optional offerings of sla bach, a gift-wrapped donation to the temple.  
  3. From there we will visit Vannary Bridal, a local sartorial shop that caters to weddings and other special occasions.  
  4. We will then visit Khmer Girls in Action, and former site of Kun Heng Market, site of gentrification that sparked the Cambodia Town Thrives coalition.  
  5. The last stop will be dinner at Udom Restaurant in the heart of Cambodia Town (included in ticket price).
     

Orange County Little Saigon with VietRISE

Description: This bus tour will explore Orange County Little Saigon sites, with a focus on places that have been essential for the production, preservation, and dissemination of Vietnamese American community and identity. The tour will be led by VietRISE, a community-based organization that advances social justice and builds power with working-class Vietnamese and immigrant communities in Orange County. The bus tour will enable participants to see the suburban sprawl that has led to a distinct formation of an ethnic enclave quite different from the urban enclaves of other Asian American communities. Participants will disembark at key sites to learn about the role of Vietnamese-language media, how memorials shape knowledge about the past, and the commercial and cultural impact of Vietnamese Americans on Orange County’s landscape. Lunch will be on your own in the Asian Garden Mall area where there is a plethora of delicious offerings. The tour guides will provide restaurant recommendations in the area within walking distance of the Asian Garden Mall. 

Stops: Nguoi Viet Daily News office on Moran Street, Asian Garden Mall/Phuoc Loc Tho on Bolsa Ave, and Vietnam War Memorial at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park. 

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible, amplified sound, space is not scent-free.