Interdisciplinary dance works giving artistic voice to Asian Americans

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (ISGM), Pao Arts Center & Lenora Lee Dance present “MEDITATIONS ON THE POWER OF COMMUNITY

Video still Meditations on the Power of Community, dancer Naoko Brown at Shen Wei: Painting in Motion Exhibition (Hostetter Gallery), Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, December 3, 2020 – June 20, 2021, courtesy Weiying Olivia Huang.


ISGM, Pao Arts Center & Lenora Lee Dance present 

Meditations on the Power of Community


In response to the  Shen Wei: Painting in Motion  exhibition,  Pao Arts Center  2021 Artist in Residence  Lenora Lee Dance  presents a new commissioned work,  illuminating stories of the Chinatown community against the backdrop of Wei’s large-scale, immersive paintings. Interviews and contemporary dance choreographed by Lee in collaboration with Lenora Lee Dance and Boston-based dancers, provide a meditation on the experiences of Boston’s Chinatown community.  Filmed  by local filmmaker Weiying Olivia Huang. 



Artistic Direction: Lenora Lee

艺术指导: 李小玉


Choreography / 编舞: 

Lenora Lee (李小玉) in collaboration with cast:

 Naoko Brown (原田尚子), IJ Chan (陳加恩),

 Flora Hyoin Kim, and Johnny Huy Nguyen 



Interviewees / 采访人物:

Pieranna Cavalchini, Peggy Fogelman, 

Paul W. Lee (李宝罗), Lydia M. Lowe (駱理德), 

Rhea Vedro, Cynthia Woo (胡善怡), Cynthia Yee (余麗馨)


Sound Mixer / 声音混合: Eric Taylor

Sound Engineering / 声音处理: Joel Wanek 

Costumes / 服装 : Lenora Lee / 李小玉

Chinese Translation / 中文翻译 : 

Weiying Olivia Huang / 黄维英

Music / 音乐 :

Tatsu Aoki, with Kioto Aoki, JoVia Armstrong, Mwata Bowden, Suwan Choi, Coco Elysses, Jamie Kempkers, Paul Kim, Avreeayl Ra, Melody Takata, Edward Wilkerson Jr., Hide Yoshihashi  

Songs / 歌曲: “Conscription”, “Look at Our Time”, “Nobi – the other side”, “Move-meant” (from the first album MIYUMI Project by Southport Records), “An Eye Opener for Angels” and “Dynamite MHB” (from album Raw and Alive Volume II) 

Courtesy of Asian Improv Records / 由亚洲即兴唱片提供

Images / 图像: Shawn Read, Cynthia Woo (胡善怡), Cynthia Yee (余麗馨), and Christine Nguyen courtesy of Asian Community Development Corporation  

Murals / 壁画:

Chinese dragon mural by Enivo (14 Tyler Street)

“Tale of an Ancient Vase” by Bryan Beyung (22 Tyler Street) 

“Chinatown Heritage Mural” by Wen-ti Tsen and Zuo Yuan, (Oxford Street)

The Mayor’s Mural Crew / Boston Youth Clean-up Crew

(Adjacent to the Chinatown Gate)



More information (Shen Wei | Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Language: English with Chinese Subtitles 

Age: All-ages



Screenings and panel discussions

Join the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Pao Arts Center, and Lenora Lee Dance  for a free virtual viewing party for Meditations on the Power of Community.

This short film will viewable through the Gardner Museum here starting Thursday, May, 6th with a screening and panel discussion Tuesday, May 11, 3pm PST (6pm EST) 

Meditations on the Power of Community is a short film commissioned by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, featuring choreography by Pao Arts Center 2021 Artist-in-Residence Lenora Lee Dance and filmed by Weiying Olivia Huang. The film features interviews with members of Boston’s Chinatown community, in response to the Museum’s exhibition Shen Wei: Painting in Motion.


Following a screening of the film, join filmmaker Weiying Olivia Huang, Lenora Lee of Lenora Lee Dance, Board President of Asian Community Development Corporation Paul W. Lee,  Cynthia Woo of Pao Arts Center, and moderator Susan Chinsen, Creative Producer/Engagement, Founding Director/Boston Asian American Film Festival, Emerson College Office of the Arts, ArtsEmerson,  for a dialogue about the resilience of local activists, dreams turned into reality through art, advocacy, and the healing embrace of culture. 


The program will feature a screening of this short film as well as opportunities for the audience to join the conversation. 


Lenora Lee is a 2021 Pao Arts Center Artist in Residence, with additional support from ArtsEmerson.




Meditations on the Power of Community will also be screened in Projecting Connections: Chinese American Experiences, presented by ArtsEmerson and the Boston Asian American Film Festival from May 6- 10.



About the 5/11/21 Panelists 


Lenora Lee is a dancer, choreographer, and artistic director of Lenora Lee Dance. She pushes the envelope of large-scale multimedia dance performance crafted for the proscenium, underwater, or in the air, and at times is site-responsive, immersive and interactive. Lenora’s work integrates contemporary dance, film, music, and research related to immigration, global conflict, and human rights.

photo by Hien Huynh







Paul W. Lee is a retired Partner of Goodwin Procter LLP.  Mr. Lee grew up in the Boston Chinatown and Brookline, Mass.  His Chinese immigrant parents worked in restaurants and garment factories.  After earning a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, he became a lawyer and was a partner at Goodwin Procter specializing in corporate law from 1984-2013. Mr. Lee serves on the boards of The Boston Foundation Board, Conservation Law Foundation, and WGBH, Chair of the Asian Community Fund, and Board President of the Asian Community Development Corporation, which has built over 600 units of housing in Boston Chinatown. In 2019 he received the Sojourner Award from the Chinese Historical Society of New England.





Cynthia Woo,  has been the Director of Pao Arts Center, at Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center since Jan 2017. She has fifteen years of experience in the non-profit arts, and arts education sector. She has worked at the Chinese American Museum of Los Angeles, LynnArts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Boston Center for the Arts.

 photo by Ashley Yung











Filmmaker Weiying Olivia Huang 

Weiying Olivia Huang ( is an award winning documentary filmmaker. Her documentary ‘City as Canvas’ won the Best Human Interest Documentary at the World Premiere Film Awards in 2020. The film, funded by a grant from the Cambridge Arts Council, was also nominated for ‘Best New England Film’ at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival.










Susan Chinsen is a Creative Producer at ArtsEmerson. She established the annual Boston Asian American Film Festival in 2008, where she continues as the Festival Director. Previously, she managed the Chinese Historical Society of New England, and was an engagement consultant for the PBS documentary “The Chinese Exclusion Act,” building upon her community work and past experience working at WGBH. She is on the Board of Directors at South Cove Community Health Center, MASS Creative and a Steering Committee member of the API Arts Network. Susan is also an alumna of the American Chinese Art Society’s traditional dance troupe and Tufts University. 

Photo Credit: Sampan/Yiyan Zheng 鄭怡嫣





About the Partner:  

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is an art museum in Boston, Massachusetts, which houses significant examples of European, Asian, and American art. Its collection includes paintings, sculpture, tapestries, and decorative arts. It is originally the home of Isabella Stewart Gardner, whose will called for her art collection be permanently exhibited “for the education and enjoyment of the public forever”.

ISGM Community programs created in partnership with Pao Arts Center are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and Barr Foundation ArtsAmplified initiative. 

Education and community programs receive support from the Vertex Foundation, the Rowland Foundation, The Lubin Family Foundation, The Beker Foundation, Liberty Mutual Foundation, The Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation, Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation, and the Janet Burke Mann Foundation.

The Gardner Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.





Pao Arts Center was established in 2017 as a visionary program collaboration between Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC) and Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC). Located at 99 Albany Street in downtown Boston, Pao Arts Center is Chinatown’s first arts and cultural center.

Pao Arts Center represents the belief that investing in arts, culture, and creativity are vital to the health and well-being of individuals, families, and vibrant communities. Through its innovative approach, Pao Arts Center empowers creativity, connection, learning, and support.

@paoartscenter, #paoartscenter,











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