Following a horrifying number of anti-Asian hate crimes in recent months, a group of artists and activists in Chicago have teamed up for an ongoing fundraiser, Art Advancing Justice. The artwork and book sale is organized by Chicago API Artists United (CAAU) and launched last week with a wave of support—many of the pieces sold within the first day—with proceeds going toward Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, an organization that’s been hosting bystander training and other advocacy and civic engagement endeavors as a way to build racial equity.
CAAU director and co-founder Greg Bae tells Colossal that the fundraiser and broader organization grew organically from a network of artists and art writers who had been in conversation prior to uniting formally. “We’ve long been affected by anti-Asian sentiment, both the recent spike, its consistent regularity throughout our lives, and historically—but after the Atlanta shootings some of us got together and decided to mobilize our collective art networks and practices to try to make a direct impact,” he says.
Drawing on the experiences of its sibling organization Chicago Art for Black Futures, CAAU solicited 137 donations from 79 contributors, an unexpected outpouring of support that Bae says quickly raised the fundraising goal from $5,000 to $15,000. “Chicago art communities responded with a lot of love. Our friends and allies, too, are very sick and tired of hate and were happy to support us,” he shares.
Art Advancing Justice coincides with Asian Pacific American Heritage month and runs through May 22. Shop available pieces on the CAAU site, and follow the organization on Instagram to stay up-to-date with its efforts, which include plans to partner again with Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago and other activist projects focused on building anti-racist communities.