The Asian Heritage Foundation aims to start Building Bridges Through Arts

Without a question, Calgary’s culture scene is vibrant and diverse, but could we be more aware of, and engaged in the vast arts and culture throughout our communities? The Asian Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with Calgary Arts Development, are looking to showcase the diversity and richness of the creativity throughout our communities in an event called Building Bridges Through Arts: Pan-Asian and Pan-Canadian Art Experience. Founder and co-chair of the Asian Heritage Foundation, Teresa Woo-Paw, was gracious enough to answer some questions about this wonderful event being held Saturday, July 28 at Arts Commons.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the Asian Heritage Foundation?

A: We established the Asian Heritage Foundation (AHF) in 2001 as a collaboration among Asian-Canadian communities to highlight the role of Canadians of Asian descent in the shaping of Canada and their continuing contribution to the country’s social, economic, cultural and political life. Since then, AHF has led in the celebration of Asian Heritage Month in Calgary. Our purpose then and now is to redefine Canada and Calgary as a product of many influences, including Asian, and to assert that our common future is one of inclusivity, diversity and equity.

Q: What was the thought process behind creating Building Bridges Through Arts? Did you see a necessity in the community for an event such as this?

A: The necessity for creating this type of connections and collaborations was identified in the Cultural Plan for Calgary, which identified “maximize Calgary’s diversity advantage by appreciating, engaging and connecting Calgary’s diverse population”; and, “Building connections between ethno-cultural communities, Indigenous communities and Calgary’s arts and cultural organizations” as one of the top actions to support the strategic priorities.

The Asian Heritage Foundation, as the premier PanAsian organization, driven by a vision for a society that thrives in being inclusive and reflective of all cultures and where Asian Canadians are proudly aware of their heritage and contributing to Canadian society, shares the vision and interests of this preeminent plan and is well positioned to play an active role in turning the vision into reality.

Asian Heritage Foundation proposed creating Building Bridges Through Arts as our 2018 Asian Heritage celebration. Phase One was the initial dialogue between PanAsian arts groups and the PanCanadian artists and arts groups which took place on May 28 during Asian Heritage Month. The Building Bridges Through Arts interactive event at Arts Commons is the second connections initiative. We are pleased to be supported by Canadian Heritage InterAction program and CADA to create a platform to connect artists and arts sectors.

Q: Explain the collaboration with Calgary Arts Development.

A: Calgary Arts Development is not only a leader for the arts in Calgary, it is also a champion for diversity and inclusion. I believe the Asian Heritage Foundation and Calgary Arts Development have a shared interest in deepening cross-cultural understanding and collaborations amongst the artists and arts and cultural organizations of all backgrounds.

AHF’s strength lies in our established relationships and foundation for collaboration with the diverse PanAsian communities and Calgary Arts Development possesses strong connections and relationships with the PanCanadian arts sector. Our desires to facilitate connections amongst arts groups is strengthened by working together in raising awareness about the vision in the Cultural Plan, the potentials and opportunities for enriching artistic programming and supporting even greater innovation and creativity.

Q: Can anyone attend? What can they expect?

A: Event is free, is open to the public! Please come enjoy an unique and exuberant afternoon of creative expression. It will feature live performances, visual art displays, interactive demonstrations and much more. Groups participating in the event include Alberta Theatre Projects, Chinese Culture Heritage Association, Korean Art Club, QuickDraw Animation, the New Gallery, Bamboo Bridge Artists Association, Raga Mala Music Society and the Calgary Vietnamese Women’s Association.

Come experience this unique coming together of Calgary artists!

Building Bridges Through Arts: Pan-Asian and Pan-Canadian Art Experience takes place from noon – 5 p.m. at Arts Commons on Saturday, July 28.

Photo courtesy the Asian Heritage Foundation

Kari Watson is a writer and former Listings Editor of FFWD Weekly, and has continued to bring event listings to Calgary through theYYSCENE and her event listings page, The Culture Cycle. Contact her at