Places that Matter

Wall of Respect for Chinese Workers (site of)

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Martha Cooper
Martha Cooper
Laura Hansen
Mural created to curb local gang violence, demolished in 2006
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In 1968, City Arts Workshop organized mural projects throughout the city, directed by professional artists and implemented by teams of school kids and community groups. In 1978, students from JH 65/IS 131 created the "Wall of Respect for Chinese Workers" on the side of a Chinese movie theater (the last to close in Chinatown in 1998). The theater owner invited the project in an effort to curb local gang violence. Project leader Tomie Arai saw it as a way to uncover a largely undocumented community history. "Wall of Respect for Chinese Workers" is the only mural of the original six that survives from the City Arts work in Chinatown in the late 1970s.

2007 update: The Wall of Respect was demolished along with the building it adorned in the fall of 2006, part of a major wave of demolition and new building along the Bowery.