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Art sale to support recovery of Museum of Chinese in America artifacts damaged in fire

On February 24th at noon EST, Praise Shadows Fine Art will hold a benefit sale on its online Artsy gallery to support the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) based in Manhattan, which will mark one month since a fire erupted on 70 Mulberry Street in Chinatown and damaged countless archives from the museum. 

The fire on January 23rd reportedly affected an estimate of 85,000 artifacts and the museum has worked diligently to recover and document the materials pulled from the fire. 

Fortunately, the museum’s president, Nancy Yao Maasbach, later expressed optimism, saying that collections in the museum are largely salvageable, reports AsAmNews. 

“We are so excited to share that it looks like everything we took out of the building this morning is very much salvageable. Very much salvageable,” communicated Maasbach at a press conference attended by AsAmNews. “So we had about 25 boxes get immediately sent to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where they will be immediately (put in freezers), stabilized and then freeze-dried.” 

Following the fire, Yng-Ru Chen, the founder of the Praise Shadows Fine Art and former external affairs consultant to MOCA, reached out to artists about putting together a benefit sale. 

In the art organization’s announcement for the benefit, it states that “the goal was to do something responsive, simple, and affordable” and that “it was important to reflect the spirit of this archive, which started in the 1970s when community organizers pulled items from Chinatown sidewalks and dumpsters in an effort to preserve the history of the marginalized group in New York.” 

Chen requested that artists create their work in inspiration and dedication to an item in the museum’s archives. More than 20 artist participants have joined the initiative and will have their work featured in the exhibition. 

According to the group, each work will be sold for $250, with $200 donated to MOCA and the remaining $50 for processing fees. Shipping to U.S. addresses will be a flat $25.

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