Lantern painted with camera, a dedication to photographer Corky Lee

Lighting Up Chinatown on the Lantern Festival

What better way to celebrate the last day of Lunar New Year, also known as the Lantern Festival, than with a DJ dance party with our friends at Think!Chinatown, the latest installation of the Light Up Chinatown lantern project, and a beautiful dedication to legendary photographer Corky Lee?

Non-profit arts organization Think!Chinatown has been killing it with Lunar New Year programming, from the superfun Tuan Yuan 團圓 Homecoming Box (a collaboration with Pearl River) —

Components of the ThinkChinatown x Pearl River Tuan Yuan box

 — to a robust line-up of virtual crafting, cooking, and storytelling workshops, to Friday Night’s Lantern Festival dance party DJ’d by Rochelle Kwan and featuring Prisca Choe’s newsstand lantern installation (with a stunning likeness of premier head model Melissa Ip) —

Melissa Ip poses in front of her likeness at the newsstand lantern by Prisca Choe

— and Rose Wong’s wearable “We the Lantern” piece.

A Lantern Festival reveler dances in the "We the Lantern" piece.

As for the next phase of Light Up Chinatown, another 113 personalized lanterns were hand-painted and weatherproofed by Prisca Choe, our own Joanne Kwong, and a bevy of volunteers. 

Volunteer paints a dedication on a lantern.

Photo by Edward Cheng

Volunteers paint dedications on lanterns

Photo by Edward Cheng

The lanterns were then installed on Bayard Street in Manhattan Chinatown, adding to the lanterns on Mott. Special shout-out to tireless Light Up Chinatown team captain Chung Seto for staying until three a.m. to oversee the installation.

Chung Seto, Patrick Mock, and Jenny Lam Low posing in front of lanterns on Bayard Street.

Chung Seto, Patrick Mock, and Jenny Lam Low celebrate Light Up Chinatown

What makes this installation even more special is a breathtaking nine-lantern tribute, with artwork by Jia Sung, to friend, photographer, and pillar of the Asian American community, Corky Lee, who passed away last month.

Lanterns dedicated to photographer Corky Lee

Be sure to check them out if you have the chance to visit. You can also help light up even more of Chinatown by donating to the Light Up Chinatown GoFundMe, and help Think!Chinatown with their mission of building a stronger, more resilient Chinatown through the arts, storytelling, and neighborhood engagement.

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