The Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts – Pintig, or CIRCA-Pintig (CP) for short, is a 29-year Chicago-based organization whose mission is to engage community members in addressing critical needs of immigrant communities in creative, participatory and empowering ways. As its name underscores, CP’s mission is two-pronged. The Immigrant Resources (IR) focus is on providing much needed resources and services as well as access to these through grassroots activities and campaigns primarily for, from, and by immigrant communities. The Community Arts (CA) focus is on developing, nurturing and popularizing community arts aesthetic and pedagogy that speak of the immigrant experience within the changing multicultural American landscape as well as celebrating the histories and artistic legacies of America’s diverse cultural terrain through participatory art creation. Pintig is a Filipino term for “heartbeat” or “pulse”. CP’s almost three-decade practice and tradition were borne out of and honed through Pintig’s active cultural work since 1991. CP’s work may be summed up in three foundational principles – educate-organize-mobilize (E-O-M).
In the past, CP’s work has mostly focused on education and advocacy through community performances and workshops. However, the COVID19 pandemic has brought on new challenges to the communities that we have and continue to serve as well as to our community work itself. This has necessitated a shift in our priorities from advocacy alone to the urgency of adding direct services as well. Most recently for example, acting quickly to respond to emergency challenges of COVID19, CP started flexing its direct services muscles by starting with its own membership and outreach base by organizing the delivery of meal donations to ER frontliners as part of the “Meal Trains” and by sewing protective cloth masks for caregiving and support staff in a nursing home.
Hence, for the first time in its 29-year history, CP is boldly embarking on a new direction by adding direct service programs in its mission and focus. By leveraging its home-grown methods and infrastructures that have served CP’s education and advocacy programs in the past coupled with its active community work through the years, CP believes that it has a very strong foundation to take on projects that pertain to providing direct services to our communities and outreach.