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The Evanston ASAPIA Heritage Month Arts Festival was held under blue skies and festive red lanterns on May 22 at Fountain Square in downtown Evanston. This festival, sponsored by the Kitchen Table Stories Project, Asian American Caucus, and City of Evanston, showcased multiple expressions of Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander American cultures.
This was a family-oriented festival with multiple opportunities for hands-on engagement. Attendees were given a pack of sidewalk chalk to create their own mandalas on surrounding sidewalks. This community art project was inspired by the symbolism of circles and connection in South Asian Indian culture.
There was a sea of fluttering koi behind the Family Art Table, sponsored by Kids Create the Change, where people of all ages painted delicate watercolor designs on paper koi/carp, a traditional symbol of the health and resilience of children in Japan.
Youth change-makers were present at the Embody Wares Table and the Asian Racism Takedown Table showcasing art-based solutions to social issues. Another popular stop was the Food Culture Table with individually wrapped snacks and candies such as lychee jelly from Taiwan, Korean rice crackers, and Japanese Pocky sticks donated by members of the Kitchen Table Stories Project.
Many attendees stopped by a booth to buy Indian spice packets and sauces from Kalpana Waikar of Inspired Indian Cooking and Sam Rattapoonas of Nakorn. Several restaurants had special offers in conjunction with the festival including 527 Café, Koi Fine Asian Cuisine, Lao Sze Chuan, and Mt. Everest.