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Content Hub ALL ARTS Launches A New Multi-Cultural Initiative This September

Enda Walsh

ALL ARTS, the New York-based Emmy-winning arts and culture hub, has just launched The First Twenty — a timely and topical content initiative. In doing so, it has announced its initial fall lineup featuring three original specials.

Launched in May on ALL ARTS with “Michael Mwenso Honors George Floyd” (now streaming), it is a powerful concert homage featuring some of today’s greatest Black artists, on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s killing.

Created by The WNET Group, parent company of New York’s PBS stations, ALL ARTS is breaking new ground as the premier destination for inspiring creativity and art of all forms. Aiming to be accessible to viewers everywhere, ALL ARTS’ Webby-nominated programming — from digital shorts to feature films — is available online nationwide.
The First Twenty is curated by ALL ARTS Artistic Director James King. By inviting artists from traditionally underserved communities to create culturally-relevant content, the new effort works to break down barriers and make the arts more accessible to those communities – as well as bringing their cultures, perspectives and voices to a broader society. Uncovering the ways that the first two decades of this century have impacted American art, culture and the collective consciousness, ALL ARTS premieres these three original specials this fall.

Each of these specials, created by a trio of diverse artists, illuminate how their unique cultures – Irish American, Native American and Asian American – have been affected by the first two decades of the 21st century. The other two are “Ma’s House” from Native American visual artist Jeremy Dennis and “20 Years of Asian American Playwriting” from Ralph Peña and the Ma-Yi Theater Company.

In association with Irish Arts Center’s Programming and Education Director Rachael Gilkey, the first program is titled “The First Twenty: Afterwards," a short work created by noted Irish writer Enda Walsh (“Disco Pigs,” “Once,” “Hunger.” “Lazarus” with David Bowie, “Sing Street”) in partnership with the Irish Arts Center. Having premiered on September 7th, 2021, the compelling monologue — an emotional look at how we absorb our past and how the past is a part of us — is performed by veteran actor Sarah Street (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).

The second is an exploration of the evolution of Native American art from photographer and Shinnecock Indian Nation member Jeremy Dennis, debuts on October 11 in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In this verité short doc, he discusses the evolution of Native American art and building Ma’s House & BIPOC Art Studio, an artist retreat and communal art space on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, N.Y., that will provide a safe space for free creativity and healing.

The third —The First Twenty: 20 Years of Asian American Playwriting — is a revealing documentary from Ralph Peña and the Ma-Yi Theater Company featuring interviews with Tony winner David Henry Hwang and playwright, director and filmmaker Young Jean Lee. This 30-minute documentary film — which premieres in November — showcases the evolution of the Asian American playwright over the last 20 years. It takes a close look at the shift in how Asian American plays are broadly perceived, as well as the widening scope of subjects tackled by Asian American writers that move far beyond identity politics.

All three specials will stream nationwide on the ALL ARTS app and, and premiere in the New York Metro area on the ALL ARTS TV channel (channel lineup). The free ALL ARTS app is available on all major streaming platforms and @AllArtsTV on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. New York area TV viewers can also watch the 24/7 broadcast channel.

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