With gentrification accelerating citywide, over 100 galleries have opened in Chinatown. Approximately 60% of these have arrived in the last three years. Rents have risen to an all time high and low-income Chinatown tenants and small business owners are being pushed out. Hyper-development—in the form of luxury condos, hotels and galleries—is putting the lives and livelihoods of long-term residents at risk.

Gentrification is often the result of many overlapping social and economic factors. Yet, as evidenced in SoHo, Chelsea and, more recently, Bushwick, art galleries tend to be among the first businesses to gentrify working class or industrial districts. How, accordingly, might we speak to the complicity of art and artists within this process? Can artists be an ally in the struggle against gentrification and displacement? What, if any, are the points of unity between artists, galleries and the local community?

On October 22nd, Artists SpaceChinatown Art Brigade and Decolonize This Place held a town hall discussion that brought together over 215 local residents, activists, gallery owners and artists together for a candid dialogue about the growing impact of art galleries in Chinatown.

Thanks to Artists Space for filming and editing the video.

"Sites of Mass Displacement" by Liz Moy, Chinatown Art Brigade

We hope galleries, newcomers, artists and new businesses will stand alongside community members and pledge to resist gentrification:

Pledge for galleries, newcomers and artists coming into Chinatown