When the Filipino American Museum (FAM) opens its first show at Soho’s Third Streaming on October 29, one of New York’s largest Asian communities will formally attain a museum institution of their own. The project, which received funding from an anonymous individual just four months ago, is the brain-child of Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) alumni Carolyn Cervantes Antonio and Nancy A. Bulalacao-Leung. Yet despite having conceived the museum during their tenures at MOCA, where Antonio and Bulalacao-Leung respectively held senior positions in external affairs and programming, their plan for FAM diverges from what they see as the more “historical” objectives of institutions like MOCA.
“We hope to be a hub for the Filipino-American community as well as the Asian-American community … MOCA was very focused on history and that’s something we are too but there are other Filipino-American organizations that are already doing that work and doing it well,” Bulalacao-Leung noted in an interview with Hyperallergic earlier today. “We want to be able to connect activists, artists, entrepreneurs, and historians; we are interested in seeking untold stories in whatever format and medium and presenting them in new and interesting ways.”
For the time being, FAM will float from space to space, a “roving” museum seeking locations that complement its programming, the first of which will be the October 29 sound-and-light piece by Stephen Decker, “Salvaging the Aether,” at Third Streaming. As for an eventual permanent home for FAM, “there are differing opinions among the 11 people who are involved [on the founding committee], personally I feel we need to be in Manhattan because we want to be easily accessible to all different types of individuals and communities,” Bulalacao-Leung said, adding that she is also sympathetic to other committee members’ advocacy for a Queens-based FAM.
The group also plans to launch a “web channel” for original multimedia content in January 2014; a story documenting the visit of several FAM founding members to the Philippines for the first time in at least a decade is also currently in the works for that medium.
The Filipino American Museum’s inaugural program, Salvaging the Aether by Stephen Decker, will take place at Third Streaming (10 Green Street, Soho, Manhattan) on October 29 from 4–10pm, with a reception at 7pm.