NOW Live from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

SmithsonianAPA presents “Maker’s Lane,” spotlighting APA entrepreneurs

Artist Sahra Vang Nguyen profiles five members of the APA creative class

Image courtesy of MSC Customs

Image courtesy of MSC Customs

Museums are actively reimagining their purpose during the digital age. While the Smithsonian Institution has outlined a thoughtful agenda for this moment, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center views this era from a different perspective: online life has become a compelling thread of the Asian Pacific American experience in a very interesting way.

msc2Asian Pacific America is the most wired and engaged online community in the U.S., participating in vibrant online popular cultures with consequence for the representation and influence of Asian Pacific American communities. Indeed, Asian Pacific Americans now compose America’s so called “creative class”–the range of artistic, scientific, technological, educational and professions, including the world of culture, design and entertainment. In short, an online constellation of meaningful American history, art, culture is now tracking through Asian Pacific America, a community that has been historically marginalized in mainstream media and cultural institutions. The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is committed to the exploration of how online life may serve as a national museum, a pursuit that requires that we experiment with digital platforms of creative cultural heritage.

In this very DIY digital age, these stories capture the spirit of the American dream and the American hustle–where people are working hard to make a vision become real.

– Sahra Vang Nguyen, director and producer of Maker’s Lane

SmithsonianAPA presents Maker’s Lane – a web series about Asian Pacific American enterprise and the individuals who carve new ways for understanding the “immigrant experience” as an experience of innovation. Maker’s Lane is a five-part series produced by Sahra Vang Nguyen – a promising young visual artist and filmmaker from Boston, and is presented by Studio APA, the brainchild of filmmaker Steve Nguyen, who has had a hand in supporting a range of community efforts – from a music video for emerging hip hop artist Awkwafina to Justin Lin’s box office hit, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Together, we are thrilled to exhibit what are not only stories that exist within the industries and neighborhoods in which they are born, but also samples of the versatile ways that Asian Pacific Americans are forming a collective narrative.

Indeed, cultural heritage is what we make it. We’re pleased to introduce Maker’s Lane.

Notice: This film contains a little bit of colorful language.

Maker’s Lane Episode 1 – Cory Ng & MSC Customs

Our first episode finds us in New York City with Mott Street Cycles – a custom bike shop that, in perfect Chinatown tradition, is small but high in demand. Co-founded by Cory Ng, the shop spent its first year operating out of a garage and taking customers through Craigslist, before moving into its storefront at the heart of Chinatown. Now in its third year, MSC has enjoyed the rising popularity of biking in New York, and is carving its place as one of the neighborhood’s newest thriving businesses.


The reason why Studio APA could resonate with this wonderful series is because we strive to find those stories that you’ve never heard of. The stories that inspire you to make your dreams come true in the most creative way possible.

– Steve Nguyen, founder of Studio APA


Although I didn’t think of them as entrepreneurs growing up, my parents were also business owners–my dad owning a floor sanding company and my mom owning a laundromat. So I guess I grew up with the values of creating something for yourself and being your own boss.

– Sahra Vang Nguyen, director and producer of Maker’s Lane


A new episode of Maker’s Lane premieres every week this May. Stay tuned for updates!