Giving Space / Changing Space was an interactive experience Purvi Shah and I created on September 17, 2022 in Travers Park, Jackson Heights, Queens, a few blocks from my home. We asked two simple questions to our neighbors. How do you give to this space? And how does this space give to you? While some interpreted space as physical and spatial, like the park, others reflected on it more spiritually or conceptually, like space in their life or consciousness. As active participants in the Jackson Heights community, we hoped to create a simple moment where creativity wove into the fabric of a lively public park in one of New York’s most diverse neighborhoods.

In a time of anti-Asian backlash and xenophobia, art continues to serve as a force for healing, community building, and change. Anjali Deshmukh & Purvi Shah were among 30 artists to receive a $500 grant through the Asian American Arts Alliance’s inaugural program “What Can We Do?” — which supported creative projects rooted in care and support for the AAPI community in NYC.

Circlefor: Anjali Deshmukh, Artist; Purvi Shah, Poet.
Ready to Heal / Ready to Grieve.
Mixed Media, Pervasive Installation. 2022. In Travers Park.
With support and facilitation by Troy Woodley and funding from the Asian American Arts Alliance.
Photo by Anjali Deshmukh.