Eating Dumplings for a Cause with @Curatorial at Chinatown Get Down

Yesterday evening, self-proclaimed art nerds and cocktail lovers Rachel Goss and Ali Cashman, along with their fabulous co-hosts Alexandria Pang and Erin Kim, invited friends and young philanthropists alike to a wonderful night of soup dumplings at the darling Shanghai Café Deluxe in Chinatown. Both celebratory and charitable, proceeds from the event went to Chinatown Soup, a nonprofit gallery and creative community advancing art, justice, historic preservation, and civic engagement in downtown New York.

 

After an evening of deliciously piping-hot soup dumplings accompanied by sweet & sour cocktails and the auctioning-off of private dinners, insider-led Chelsea gallery tours and an edition of expertly handcrafted Dirty Jenga, we caught up with Alexandria Pang: co-host of Chinatown Get Down, Instagrammer extraordinaire @curatorial, and Director of Business Development at Arta.

 

Alexandria Pang (right) with Chinatown Soup Founder Michelle Marie Esteva (left) and Emily Sussman (middle)

 

AZ: Other than a really awesome birthday party for Ali Cashman and Rachel Goss, how did the conception of a live auction become part of the equation for Chinatown Get Down?

AP: Ali, Rachel, Erin and I are extremely active in the art world, of which auctions are a huge part of. It would be inaccurate to say that didn’t have some influence on this! We also wanted to provide an opportunity beyond ticket sales to benefit Chinatown Soup and offer a bit more entertainment beyond soups and sips, so an auction felt most appropriate. Luckily, our fellow cohost Erin Kim heads up auctions at Artsy so we could leverage her expertise as well as her auctioneering skills!

 

AZ: Whether it’s through socializing at events or over Instagram, you’re always meeting new people. Where did you first meet Ali, Rachel and Erin Kim?

AP: I met birthday girl #1, Ali through birthday girl #2, Rachel! I met Rachel and Erin at an Alex Katz opening a few years ago- it was an exhibition on his black dress series. I somehow find myself always talking to strangers. I went up to Rachel and Erin and asked which one their favorite was and somehow, we ended up becoming best friends. Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to a stranger — you may even make a new friend!

 

AZ: Between running @curatorial and heading business development for ARTA, where do you find the time to cohost events like Chinatown Get Down?

AP: Thankfully the art world is a small world, and extremely interconnected. I have found that all of these efforts are very synergistic. For example, I’ve met people through @curatorial or events who end up using (and loving) ARTA. When it comes to passion, time doesn’t exist. People tend to be more efficient at the things they enjoy doing (time flies when you’re having fun, right?).

 

AZ: What about your connections to Chinatown – how do you interact with its local arts scene and why does the cause behind Chinatown Soup speak to you?

AP: I’m a pretty big fan of every gallery neighborhood, but I actually spent several years of my early adult life living in Chinatown. Even as major galleries open up secondary posts here, these secondary posts often maintain the distinct “Chinatown” / emerging-artist identity. I was extremely interested in Chinatown Soup’s mission to build this creative community advancing art, justice, historic preservation, and civic engagement. It’s not necessarily about fighting gentrification but encouraging thought and discussion around gentrification and civic/urban development. How can this unique community and its local establishments, new galleries, and ritzy real estate developments work in harmony?

 

AZ: I just participated in my own first charitable auction experience – I can see the appeal on multiple levels. Is fundraising/charity something you see becoming a greater part of your professional repertoire?

AP: For the right organization and cause, absolutely! I’m grateful to art for making life more beautiful. The art industry can be intensely commercial (art fairs, auctions, etc.), but so much of it is non-profit and a labor of love. I’m proud to be a member of Whitney Contemporaries, Performa Visionaries, Art Production Fund Benefit Committee, etc. and hope to continue to make contributions in whatever way possible.

 

AZ: What other projects of yours are on the horizon (and we should be looking out for…)

AP: I would definitely be prepared to see more ARTA domination. We’re continuing to hit and exceed new goals and are growing extremely quickly. Also look out for a new artist residency taking place in a 1200s palazzo (Palazzo Monti) located in Brescia, Italy.

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