Read about CW: Bay Chronicles art installations; CW: Golden Gate production updates; our Spring celebration Cultivating Community; CW Director Rene Yung as featured artist in Immigrant Heritage Month; and check out "Stories that Feed Us"! 
Meet community members Jack Soares and Jason Bayani!

Join us in bringing forgotten stories to light. Your tax-deductible donation will allow us to continue our innovations in community-based heritage stewardship.

CW: Bay Chronicles Video for Installation – contact us about sponsorship opportunities.

CW: Golden Gate full theater production

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Click here for the FWD blog on Rene Yung's installation art works.
Click here for KALW story on Bayview Hunters Point and conversation with Rene

Want to be in the CWGG theater production?
Email us with "CWGG Community Storyteller" in the subject line, and we'll send you more info about how to be a proxy storyteller.


about the early Chinese settlers in your community, and members of other cultures that interacted with them.

in "Stories That Feed Us" –
email us with the following:
1. How do you cook rice?
2. What is your first memory of eating rice?
3. Share a story about rice from your family memories.
4. Your favorite rice recipe.


Donate $20 and get a boxed set of our limited edition Story Cards
TM – each card features a unique image of a nourishing bowl of rice and a story excerpt from our upcoming theater production. Perfect for relishing, or sharing as a gift!
Chinese WhispersSM is a cultural resiliency project dedicated to bringing to light the overlooked history and experiences of the Chinese who helped build the American West. Founded by artist Rene Yung, CW conducts research and creates place-based, multimedia community storytelling productions, artistic productions, and innovative public engagement programming, and is developing an interactive online mapping platform that brings together research, geography, and storytelling. Visit for more information.

Chinese WhispersSM is supported in part by the Creative Work FundSan Francisco Arts Commission, Cal Humanities, Center for Cultural Innovation, Fleishhacker Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, and sponsors and individual donors like you.

CW Partners
include the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Center for Sierra Nevada Studies, Chinatown YMCA, Chinese Historical Society of America, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, Bayview Historical Society, EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park, Aquarium of the Bay, Richmond Museum of History, Friends of China Camp, Shaping SF, OpenShow, & Placer Arts Council, with special thanks to Malcom Margolin and Heyday.

Be a CW Partner – We welcome partnerships that increase mutual capacity and shared vision. Contact us with partnership inquiries!

Chinese WhispersSM is a member of the Intersection Incubator, a program of Intersection for the Arts providing fiscal sponsorship, incubation and consulting services to artists.

Photo Credit:
Gordon Szeto, Jeff K. Lee
History from the Heart
Behind the scenes with CW Director Rene Yung

I hope you had a good 4th! This time of celebration is a great reminder of our country’s wonderful web of cultural confluences – such as fireworks, invented in China, and an early trade item with America. At CW, we follow the intricacies of this web to relink threads that have often been broken, and reveal patterns that often go unnoticed. Weaving together research, stories, images, and sounds, we bring you unique works that cross borders between disciplines to connect people, place, and time. It is history from the heart, because people are at the heart of history.

Read about how we do this in the multi-part art and research project CW: Bay Chronicles, updates on our storytelling production CW: Golden Gate, and more, as we bring hidden histories to light with artistry and authenticity.

And be sure to check out our new "Stories that Feed Us" section below, with clay pot rice recipe—yum!

Have a Happy summer! — Rene
Weaving the Net – CW: Bay Chronicles
If anything we do reweaves the net, surely it is Bay Chronicles. Last fall we partnered with the SF Maritime National Historical Park to retrace the forgotten history of Chinese shrimp fishing in the SF Bay, and sailed on the Park’s replica 19th century shrimp junk, the Grace Quan, to former shrimping sites around the Bay with an interdisciplinary team of artists, scientists, and maritime archaeologist.

During the CWBC public programming, Chinese Whispers broke the story about historical collaboration between Chinese American and African American residents in Bayview Hunters Point, a major former shrimping site, and the CWBC expedition "rediscovered" the sites of forgotten Chinese shrimp camps with the aid of historical maps and photographs.

This Spring, CW Director Rene Yung collaborated with sound artist Jeremiah Moore to create a sound installation for the exhibition “Hydrarchy” at San Francisco State University's Fine Arts Gallery. The first in a series of iterative reflections on this under-valued history, the installation wove together sounds recorded on the sails and texts gathered from research and oral histories.


This fall, we’ll develop the installation for SF Maritime’s Visitor Center to create an evocative, immersive environment that animates the past through the poetics of the present. Who says history is just about looking backwards?


Stay tuned for updates about the exhibition and other CWBC developments as we renew the interwoven threads of this fascinating story to connect history and the present, and community and place.

Giving Voice to History – CW: Golden Gate
History is speaking at every moment, if we’ll just listen. This winter we launched an Indiegogo campaign to give eloquent voice to history through the multimedia storytelling production CW: Golden Gate, about the early immigrant communities in the Bay Area, and connect it to stories of immigrants in SF Chinatown today. Our deepest thanks to everyone who helped us surpass our first campaign goal:

By the Numbers
$16,234 was contributed
by 144 donors
from 5 countries
on 3 continents.

You can still DONATE TO THE CAMPAIGN to help bridge our final goal, as a special InDemand project of Indiegogo. Many thanks to the Fleishhacker and Zellerbach Foundations for their additional support. The production is now scheduled for Spring 2016, as we continue to refine the script and assemble our theater team.

Calling Community Actors
Do you have storytelling talents and would like to join in an exciting artistic production to bring overlooked history to life? Contact us for information on how to become a proxy storyteller.

Branching Forth from Spring
The year of the Ram took off like its namesake. After wrapping our Indiegogo campaign, in addition to creating the installation for CWBC@SFSU, we also participated in the SF History Expo, and held our fourth annual Lunar New Year storytelling celebration in collaboration with our friends at SF Maritime, on board the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha.

On a sun-drenched afternoon, audience members gathered for Cultivating Community, to enjoy a program with a rich panoply of community and literary voices. They listened to stories from different cultural viewpoints on early Chinese immigrant communities, including from unexpected sources such as Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Italian American fishermen in San Francisco, interwoven with CW stories and poetry about Chinese maritime life in the Bay.

Slam poet Jason Bayani magnetized everyone with a riveting performance of his poetry about the diasporic experience, and community members Ramona Chang, Ford Lee, Virginia Stearns and SFMNHP Ranger David Pelfrey shared personal stories of cultural renewal, that ranged from Chinatown New Year traditions to celebrations in bi-cultural and adoptive families.

Our thanks to everyone for making the event a success. It exemplifies the CW commitment to connecting the unexpected and enriching meaning in celebration of our shared community heritage.

Immigrant Heritage Month

In June, CW Director Rene Yung was a featured artist in “The Art of the Immigrant,” a celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month presented by at WIX Lounge on the SF Waterfront. Rene inspired the audience with a presentation of her powerful installation art, and CW veteran storyteller Kevin Lee and intern Mei Li Isaacson delivered fun readings from audience-selected CW StoryCookies™ that gave a taste of the larger stories. Click here for the FWD blog on Rene's installation art.


CW is about your stories – everyday stories that connect and nourish us. Here, Candy Tsang of San Francisco and Ma-Lai Farrell of Walnut Creek talk about rice and share a favorite rice recipe. Enjoy!

Community Voices

Meet our growing community here! The CW Community is made up of all kinds of people spanning generations -- professionals, scholars, retirees, students, "regular folks" who joined us to bring forgotten stories to light.

CW advisor Jack Soares retired from a long career working with Bay Area nonprofits, and now has time to volunteer for his favorite causes. Jack says:

“My first taste as a CW reader at the China Camp Walk of Remembrance during CW: Bay Chronicles last September, hooked me, so I jumped at the chance to add my voice to the CWBC sound installation at SF State earlier this year. Then came an opportunity join the proxy storytellers aboard the Balclutha. The way Rene weaves the stories of Chinese immigrants with contemporaneous newspapers articles and the works of authors such as Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson, combined with her storytelling coaching, makes for an engrossing educational experience for readers and audience alike.”

Slam Poet Jason Bayani, who is the program manager for Kearny Street Workshop in San Francisco, says:

“I enjoyed being a part of Chinese Whispers’ Spring Festival Celebration. It was an eye-opening experience for me that gave me a glimpse into a part of Asian American history I wasn’t so familiar with and I really enjoyed getting to listen to the stories being told by members of the community. And it was pretty fun getting to read my poetry on a ship with that much history. What a great audience that came to listen and take it all in! I appreciate the opportunity to connect and share. Our stories are important to tell and I hope to see this organization continue to create spaces for them to be told.”


Our sincerest thanks to all of the community members who are helping to bring history to life.

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