A FREE 3-day APIDA Arts Festival

  • A different premier Chicago venue each day
  • A new lineup of artists and performers at each location
  • After-party: $25–$45

APIDA Arts Festival, Celebrating the Creativity of Asian, Pacific Island and Desi/South Asian Americans in Chicago, in association with the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Goodman Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) and Lookingglass Theatre, announces registration for free tickets to the inaugural Festival, May 5 - 7, and paid tickets to the Sunday, May 7 After Party will be available Saturday, April 1 at 12 p.m. at APIDAArts.org. As some events are limited in size, registration is strongly encouraged for these free events. The mission of the APIDA Arts Festival is to amplify and unify Asian, Pacific Island and Desi/South Asian American artists in Chicago by showcasing their work at premier cultural institutions, providing greater representation, equity and opportunity. The APIDA Arts Festival will also be available via streaming on APIDA Arts YouTube channel.

“As a Korean American performing artist for more than 20 years in Chicago, I wasn't given the same opportunities as my peers,” says Executive Director Mia Park. “This festival creates space for Asian, Pacific Island and Desi/South Asian American makers and creators to showcase their work and connect. The aim of the festival is to amplify and unify these voices.”

The 2023 Inaugural APIDA Arts Festival includes:

Friday, May 5
Claudia Cassidy Theatre,
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

3 - 6 p.m.: Live painting demonstration with Won Kim

3 - 6 p.m.: Glass arts with Tiberius Geisen 

5 - 5:25 p.m.: Live classical music with Béke Trio

5:30 - 5:45 p.m.: Live dance with Shalaka Kulkarni and Rika Lin 

5 - 8:30 p.m.: Artist Katie Chung in a fashion installation wears her handmade garment fabricated with tags from her immigrant parents’ dry cleaner. Non ggi created with Aram Han Sifuentes

6 p.m.: Opening ceremony with Mia Park

6:15 p.m.: Stand up comedy with Eunji Kim

6:45 p.m.: Film screening of "Running,” written by and starring Danny Pudi (“Community,” “Mythic Quest”)

7:45 - 8:30 p.m.: Panel discussion: "Art as Unifier: how the promise of art and creativity can unify our community," moderated by Monica Eng in conversation with Danny Pudi and panel of local Chicago artists Tatsu Aoki,  Richard Costes, Hannah Ii-Epstein and Patricia Nguyen.

- - -

Saturday, May 6
The Alice B. Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement
, Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn Ave.

In the lobby:

10:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.: Silent Film Loop by Tatsu Aoki and Nooreen

10:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.: Tea and Talk: BYOT
Bring Your Own Tea in a covered container. Meet fellow creatives and arts supporters while relaxing in the lounge. Including found art objects by Ji Yang and sound installation by I-Chien Chen.

10:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.:  Clothing and Cause with We Each Belong 

In the Rotunda: This APIDA Arts Showcase hosts events throughout the day including:
10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.: Live music, poetry, prose, playwriting, comics/zines and children's lit  with Banyan Asian American Writers Collective
11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.: Dance with Catherine Hepler
12 - 12:30 p.m.: Performance Art with Kushala Vora
12:45 - 1:15 p.m.: Indian Dance with Ramya Ravi
1:45 - 2:45 p.m.: Film Screening by Ashley Dequilla
3 - 3:30 p.m.: Live Music by Eileen Doan
3:45 - 4:45 p.m.: Talk Stories: An Asian American/Asian Diaspora Storytelling Show featuring Ada Cheng, producer and host and Helen Cho, Faith Kares, Avy Kea, Meghali Mazumdar, Michael Oliveros and David Quach
5 - 5:15 p.m.: Dance by Hannah Michal Santistevan
7 - 8:30 p.m.: Staged readings of short plays in the Rotunda, hosted by Sue Pak and directed by Lavina Jadhwani and Karina Patel, with ASL provided. Readings include “A Sand Romance” by Catherine Yu, “Keiki” by Hannah Ii-Epstein, “Showtime, Auntie” by Jasmine Sharma, “The Devil's Garden” by Karissa J. Murrell Myers and “Tomato Tattoo” by Rammel Chan. Performing in this staged reading are Chad Bay, Lynne Baker, Eileen Doan, Arvin Jalandoon, Tanima Sharma, Jennifer Jelsema, Harmony Zhang and Preeti Thaker.


Free workshops for Chicagoans who identify as Asian, Pacific Island and South Asian American. No experience necessary to join these enriching workshops. Enrollment opens Saturday, April 1. ASL available by request.

1 - 3 p.m.: Storytelling for 50 years and older with Ada Cheng
Learn how to tell your personal story with a voluntary open mic to practice storytelling. Space for 25 people ages 50 years and older.

4 - 6 p.m.: Playwriting 101 with Tanuja Devi Jagernauth
Expect to get centered in your body before exploring your lived experiences through playwriting. Space for 15 students.

4 - 6 p.m.: Improv 101 with Jonathan Lee-Rey and Asra Khan of Stir Friday Night

Two classes of 10 people will learn the basics of improvisation.

Information on playwrights, actors and selection committee.

- - -

Sunday, May 7
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA)
220 E. Chicago Ave.
(Patrons receive free museum admission with APIDA Arts Festival tickets.)

Chef Margaret Pak’s new restaurant, Thattu, partners with Marisol Restaurant & Bar at the MCA
At the Counter Cafe, only available during APIDA Arts Festival on May 7, visitors may enjoy Chef Margaret Pak’s noteworthy masala biscuit.

May - August 
During the APIDA Arts Festival and through August, the MCA’s Marisol Restaurant & Bar will feature two items from the menu of Chef Margaret Pak’s new restaurant, Thattu, opening this April in Avondale:

Kerala Fried Chicken Sandwich - spicy "naked" fried chicken, greens, spicy cucumber pickle, curry leaf aioli on a brioche bun

ChaaterTots - tater tots, house chaat masala served with spicy beet ketchup.

10 a.m. - 3 p.m.: DIY Craft Market, curated by Ed Mar, the Buddy and clothing and Cause with We Each Belong 

Vendors in the Craft Market may be found here.

11 a.m. - 2 p.m.: Family Creation Station with Myra Su teaches storytelling with puppets.

10:30 - 11:30 a.m.: Open Stage with master of ceremonies Jonald Reyes including Magician Jimmy Chung, The Victor Wong Improv Team from Second City, Dancer/Performer Juliann Wang and the acapella group, The Treblemakers of Northwestern University.

11 a.m. - 12 p.m.: Outdoor Audio Walk lead by Jee Yeun Lee
”Shore Land,”
a one hour event that reflects on the history of the Chicago lakefront and contrasts the settler’s engineering with Indigenous perspectives on land and water. Participants should expect 35 minutes of walking and bring a smartphone and headphones to stream the audio.

12:15 - 1:15 p.m.: Panel discussion: “Creativity for Wholeness and Healing,” moderated by Susie An, Can art making complete an individual or population? Exploring the healing potential of creativity by and for the Asian, Pacific Island and Desi/South Asian American communities. Panelists include Asad Ali Jafri, Lanialoha Lee, Anneliese Moy and Jigar Shah.

2 - 3 p.m.: Dance curated by Helen Lee featuring dancers Irene Hsiao, Helen Lee, Kinnari Vora, Mitsu Salmon and Tuli Bera perform. 

3:35 - 4:15 p.m.: Music by the rock band, Kim.

- - -

5 - 7 p.m.: APIDA Arts Festival After-Party
Lookingglass Theatre
, 821 N. Michigan Ave.
Tickets: $25 - $45

The inaugural APIDA Arts Festival concludes with a ticketed closing ceremony that includes an open bar with Asian food and a dessert bar. The After-Party includes Korean Drummer Chansoo Lee from KPAC performing Seonban Seoljanggu, Irene Hsiao presenting the immersive performance art “Blue Alice,” artist Katie Chung in a fashion installation wears her fashion garment fabricated with tags from her immigrant parents’ dry cleaners and Non ggi created with Aram Han Sifuentes and music by DJ Genghiswon is the dynamic Won Kim, the chef at Kimski.

Note: Schedule, performances and participants are subject to change.


The mission of the APIDA Arts Festival is to amplify and unify Asian, Pacific Island and Desi/South Asian American artists in Chicago by showcasing their work at premier cultural institutions, providing greater representation, equity and opportunity.

By showcasing and bringing together the creativity and imagination of Asian, Pacific Island and Desi/South Asian Americans, APIDA Arts Festival envisions a strong and sustainable APIDA arts community that is an integral presence in Chicago’s culture - evocative of our past, declarative of our present and innovative towards our future. The programming includes a self-populated Artist Directory, networking events and a festival dedicated to APIDA arts.


Chicago Cultural Center, Goodman Theatre and Museum of Contemporary Arts

More Info (External Link)
November 13, 2023

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