Society diversity

Asia Society Texas Announces Bold New Educational Project

First-of-its-kind initiative promises to transform student learning with Asian American and Asia-specific educational resources

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HOUSTON, July 20, 2022 – Asia Society Texas (ASTX) is embarking on an ambitious $10.7 million educational project that will radically advance the essential tools students and educators need to learn the untold stories of Asians and Asian Americans. Composed of both a Online learning platform And one On-site exhibition, the project aims to fill the gaps in learning opportunities that often lead to intolerance and racism. The transformation project is expected to open to the public in the spring of 2023 with over $9 million in funding secured to kick off project design and initial construction in less than a year. In the midst of this historic moment, inspiring empathy and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world is of the utmost importance, and ASTX is committed to building a more inclusive society through the exchange of diverse perspectives and the celebration dynamic cultures.

According to a study conducted by the National Commission on Asia in Schools, an overwhelming majority of educators have little Asian-related content, knowledge or training. The lack of understanding is reflected in their curriculum and leads to gaps in students’ knowledge and perspective. Additionally, many districts and educators lack the resources needed to diversify their curriculum, such as professional development and curriculum tools that explore race, identity, and different ideologies.

“There is a great need for Asia-specific learning materials that are engaging and relevant for educators and students alike,” says rick cruz, assistant superintendent of the Houston Independent School District. “We are confident that the Asia Society Texas Education Project will fill the learning gap. Our diverse student body will benefit from the intentional creation of cross-cultural connections and strong alignment with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

Informed by the value of two years of research with a 14-member advisory board – comprised of a dynamic group of cultural, educational and business leaders – ASTX has developed this bold new initiative to build on our belief in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to fight prejudice and build a more inclusive society. According Bonna KolPresident of ASTX, “We have hired top designers to transform the Asia Society Texas Center into an immersive learning center that will virtually transport students and guests to explore Asia. Students and educators who can’t visit the Center will have access to original graphic novels with interactive learning blocks supported by a robust portal for educators—the first of its kind in the United States.

Gordon Quanchair of the project’s advisory board, shares, “As an Asian American who grew up in Texas, providing opportunities to spark curiosity and enhance human connectivity by elevating the AAPI perspective is deeply meaningful to me. I know how important it is for a child to see their own history and identity reflected, which reinforces the idea that everyone’s life experience and cultural history is valued and important.

The online learning platform

The online learning platform is a virtual storytelling experience using interactive graphic novels to deepen middle and high school students’ understanding of Asia and Asian American perspectives. Grounded in humanities and STEM concepts, the platform also includes an educator portal that provides lesson plans and teaching resources aligned with learning standards for seamless integration into classroom teachings. There are no other resources like this available to educators.

“As a Filipino American raised in Tennessee, I am excited to work with Asia Society Texas to be a place where Americans of all backgrounds can interact directly with the many cultures of Asia,” says Philippe Tiongson, Founder and CEO of Potion, the New York-based project design company. “We believe this project is not only innovative, but a game-changer for students and educators when it comes to learning about Asia.”

On-site exhibition

The on-site exhibit will be the first interactive learning exhibit in Houston focused on Asia. This flexible, permanent exhibit will guide visitors of all ages through an immersive, multi-sensory experience to learn about Asian Americans, Asian art, culture, and contemporary global issues. The exhibit is designed to spark curiosity and highlight the interconnectedness between the peoples of Asia, Houston, and the United States.

“Since the center opened nearly a decade ago, I have been deeply moved to witness the curiosity, wonder, and joy sparked by Asia Society Texas programming,” says Nancy Allen, ASTX board member and philanthropist. “I am thrilled to know that this incredible building will be transformed to inspire our community to more deeply embrace the beauty and diversity of Asia.”

The curriculum for both initiatives is grounded in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Asia Society’s Center for Global Education Global Competency Framework. The strong alignment with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and accompanying teacher training will ensure the project has a strong place in the curriculum for educators, encouraging the inclusion of Asian and Asian American perspectives in classrooms. of State.

About Asia Society Texas

Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diversity of perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating Asia’s vibrant diversity, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Covering the fields of arts, business, culture, education and politics, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community – trusting in the power of art, dialogue and ideas to fight prejudice and build a more inclusive society.

About our design partners

Potion is a New York-based design and technology studio. We’ve built projects from concept to close, at home and abroad, at every scale, from kiosks to interactive galleries to monumental digital walls, and distributed across digital platforms for mobile, native and the responsive web. Since our inception, Potion has been committed to a different and more inclusive vision for a technology company. We are proudly minority, view inclusion and diversity as a fundamental strength, and believe we do our best when we bring together a range of people with a multitude of experiences and perspectives. With a focus on experiential and interactive work, we have built a practice dedicated to transforming public places and empowering those who operate and support them. Potion has been recognized by AAM, SEGD, Fast Company, MUSE, Communication Arts, SXSW and the Art Director’s Club.

C&G Partners is a multi-specialty creative studio, dedicated to design for culture with deep expertise embedded in exhibitions, signage, digital installations, branding and the web. The company has worked on projects for cultural clients including the Smithsonian, Japanese American National Museum, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Library of Congress, MoMA, and National September 11 Memorial Museum . Working closely with Asia Society Texas and Potion, the studio creates interactive experiences that celebrate diversity and connectedness and build understanding of Asian and Asian-American communities in Houston.

Foundational donations for the Asia Society Texas educational project come from Nancy C. Allen, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation, and Durga and Sushila Agrawal. Major support provided by American First National Bank and Wu Family, The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Cullen Foundation, The Elkins Foundation, The Faris Foundation, The Fondren Foundation, HEB Foundation, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, and The Thoma Art Foundation.