By Dr. Chang Tan, Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies at Penn State College of Arts and Architecture, and guest presenter at Felicity House’s Global Cultures Social, May 2022
As a part of the “Global Cultures” series and a way to celebrate the Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month, I had the pleasure of introducing Global Asias to the members of the Felicity House. I curated this exhibition in 2021; it will open at the Heckscher Museum of Art in June 2022. Featuring works of fifteen artists of Asian heritage, Global Asias showcases the cosmopolitan, playful, and subtly subversive characteristics of contemporary Asian and Asian American art.
The exhibition is divided into three thematic sections. Exuberant Forms features works that use traditional “Asian” craftsmanship, such as ceramics and papers kites, to make abstract art that are wildly inventive. Jun Kaneko exploits the uncontrolled qualities of the ancient raku ware to create explosive motions.
Jacob Hashimoto’s unique 3D printing techniques leads to dynamic and versatile designs. Moving Stories reflect on the experiences of migration, showing both the traumatic and the hopeful aspects of moving across borders. Roger Shimomura, for example, uses a cartoonish format to portray how his Japanese American family were sent to internment camps during WWII.
Hung Liu, meanwhile, uses three self-portraits to illustrate how she transitioned from a forced laborer in China to a proud citizen in the United States. Asias Reinvented highlights how Asian art and cultures engage contemporary global issues such as commercialism and climate change. Takashi Murakami’s Wink refers to the icon of a Buddha but also works as a toy, with Murakami’s signature three-eyed “Mr. DOB” and grinning sunflower designs that are both cute and creepy.
Manabu Ikeda’s Iceberg draws from his study of the 2012 nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan but also suggests how fragile our world could be while facing natural disasters.
More information about the artwork can be found in this virtual tour. Organized at a time when anti-Asia racism in the U.S. was on the rise, Global Asias shows how diverse “Asia” is, and how it is tied to the rest of the world. The divide between peoples is often misplaced and illusionary. Art lays bare our shared fears and dreams, and help us map our entangled destinies ahead.
“It’s a place where I can remove the mask I’ve created for myself out in the world and just be who I am without any fear of judgment.”
Look, we’re on TV! Click here to watch the segment.
On January 21st , we had the incredible opportunity to spread the word about Felicity House on the Today Show to audiences across the United States! The segment featured some of our community members, our Executive Director, Beth Finkelstein, and Sharon daVanport, Felicity House Advisory Board Member and founder of the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. The segment focused on the mission and impact of Felicity House for both our community members and the autism community at-large. The episode aired on January 21st at 10:00am on the 3rd Hour.
Click here to watch the segment.
In November, we celebrated thankfulness and gratitude by hosting Thanksgiving-themed events throughout the month. We focused on what we are thankful for in our lives and also gave back to the community by making holiday cards to senior citizens. Our Thanksgiving festivities included classic dishes prepared by Felicity House Chef, Maggie. For those of you hosting your own Thanksgiving holiday, we wanted to share our very own chef Maggie’s delicious turkey recipe below. Enjoy!
Felicity House Turkey Recipe:
- 1 boneless/skinless turkey breast (approximately 1 ½ – 2 pounds in weight)
- 1 small bunch of sage
- 1 small bunch of rosemary
- 1 small bunch of thyme
- 3 cups of Kosher salt
- 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 Freezer-sized ziplock bag
- 1 Flat baking pan
- Meat thermometer
Prior to cooking the turkey breast, brine the turkey in a ziplock bag. Place the turkey breast with the kosher salt, herbs, garlic and lemon zest in the ziplock bag and fill with cold water so that it just covers the turkey. Place in a large bowl in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours and let sit.
Once your turkey has brined, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pull the turkey out of the brine bag and remove and excess salt, herbs, or lemon. Place on a flat, non-stick baking pan and place in the oven to bake. The turkey will cook for 20 minutes per pound of meat- so if your turkey is 1 pound it will cook for 20 minutes; if your turkey is 2 pounds it will cook for 40 minutes. Once your meat has cooked for the allotted time, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. You want the meat to be at least 155 degrees. Once the meat reaches this temperature go ahead and pull it from the oven. Let the meat rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes before carving.
Did you know that oceans cover 70% of Earth’s surface and that marine species outnumber those on land? In fact, 94% of the Earth’s living species exist in the ocean. These astounding facts were a small fraction of the information we learned at our recent lecture, “Mysteries of the Ocean“.
Throughout the year we try to cover a variety of topics for our lecture series, from history to art, from fashion to science. We recently hosted Dr. Mercer Brugler, an expert on all things ocean-related who specializes in the evolution of black coral and sea anemones.
Dr. Brugler runs a molecular lab at the American Museum of Natural History where high school students and undergraduates are submerged in deep-sea evolutionary biology. He is also an adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU’s School of Professional Studies (Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies) and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC).
With his enthusiasm and extensive knowledge, Dr. Brugler made coral and deep-sea biology seem interesting and exciting to both science and non-science enthusiasts.
At Felicity House, we offer a wide array of fitness classes that reflect the diverse interests of our community, everything from cardio dance to low impact yoga.
Curious to learn more about fitness at Felicity House? Here’s a sampling of some of our instructors:
Layla Luciano: Boxing
Layla Luciano is Felicity House’s professional boxing instructor. In addition to teaching “jab, cross, punch” sequences at Felicity House, Layla is a master instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp, SLT, Sweat Shed, Lifetime Athletic, and co-founder of PACT Park Kickboxing. You also might recognize Layla as one of the stars of Bravo TV’s show: Workout New York.
Kyla Barkin: Yoga & Meditation
When she’s not teaching yoga and meditation, Kyla Barkin a professional dancer and choreographer who has toured internationally and is a recipient of the Jean Irwin Award. Kyla is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of BARKIN/SELISSEN PROJECT, a New York City based contemporary dance company that presents both live performances and workshops.
Ms. Vee: Hip Hop & Line Dancing
Ms. Vee brings the fire, teaching party-inspired hip hop routines for our community members at Felicity House. Ms. Vee is a professional dancer with a background in Hip-Hop, House, Ballet, Jazz, Swing, Modern, etc. She’s performed for Queen Elizabeth II and in the Off-Broadway and touring productions of Rennie Harris’ Legends of Hip-Hop.
We had a great summer at Felicity House. To celebrate the season of sun, we planned summer-focused activities. In our Circles, which are small social meetings (you can read more about them here), we enjoyed a Mixology demo and made our own zen sand boxes.
Our DIY zen gardens were created by using wooden boxes that we decorated using paint and markers. We then added sand, rakes, shells and gratitude rocks. The beach-themed boxes will help us enjoy summer all year round!
For Mixology, we brought in a professional mixologist who taught us how to blend three summer drinks. These non-alcoholic beverages were the perfect way to cool off on a hot day. The drink shown below was a magical Butterfly Lemonade with a base of tea and lemons that changed colors when we added certain ingredients. Check out the recipe below.
Butterfly Lemonade Recipe
• 5 Tablespoons of Azul tea (this can be ordered online and includes Butterfly Pea – Lemon Verbena – Lemongrass)
• 5 Whole Lemons
• Maple Syrup
• Filtered or Spring Water
Brew Azul Tea in French Press, let it sit for ten minutes. While waiting, juice lemons separately. After ten minutes, add lemon juice to Azul Tea and
watch it transform from dark purple to bright pink! Add Maple Syrup to taste. Serve with ice and garnish with lemon wedge. Enjoy!
In the summer of 2019 Anna North, novelist and senior reporter at Vox visited Felicity House. Anna later shared her experience in her article Inside Felicity House, a New York social club for women with autism. In the article, Anna beautifully captured the voices of our community members:
“There is really something to be said about being in a place where you don’t need to translate yourself,” said Christine, a 29-year-old member of the house. (To maintain their privacy, all members interviewed by Vox asked that only their first names be used.) “Walking into Felicity House was weirdly like walking into a place where everyone spoke my language.”
Another community member shared the importance of having a female-only space: “In college, I was the only woman in my life-skills group … I stopped going after a few weeks because I couldn’t connect.”
We are thrilled for the opportunity to publicly share Felicity House through our community members’ own voices. Click here to read the full article or here to read other published articles on Felicity House.
On Sunday July 14th, New York City hosted its fifth annual Disability Pride Parade, an event to “promote inclusion, awareness, and visibility of people with disabilities, and redefine public perception of disability.”
Felicity House’s community members joined the parade, cheering with pom poms and chants, to march from Madison Square Park down to Union Square. We were proud to represent both Felicity House and adult women with autism.
On May 20th, Felicity House hosted an Open Door event with Broadway actress, Ali Stroker. Ali performed some of her favorite show tunes and gave an inspirational talk about her career and journey toward success.
On June 9th, Ali made history by becoming the first wheelchair user to win a Tony when she took home the award for “best featured actress” in a musical for her performance as Ado Annie in “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!”
We loved having Ali at Felicity House and we can’t wait to see where she goes next!
“This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena — you are,” she said, in her award acceptance speech.
We are excited to share with you our first Felicity House zine (short for magazine or fanzine). The zine was created by our participants to share a glimpse of what our community is like – creative, welcoming and supportive.
We would love to know what community means to you too! Send us a postcard to 25 E. 22nd Street, New York, NY 10010 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email us a request to receive a physical copy of the zine. To print or view our zine, click here.