Value Culture’s Dim Sum Art Experience Brings Love to San Francisco’s World Famous Downtown Restaurant Yank Sing

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on June 1, 2023

San Francisco is experiencing one of the weakest recoveries of any downtown in the country from recent pandemic times. The city also saw its hate crimes against AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) people rise dramatically during this period. Increased cost of living has also threatened and pushed artists out of the city. That’s when a rising star immigrant artist and a small buzzy nonprofit organization wanted to do something to help. 

San Francisco-based nonprofit organization Value Culture led by Adam Swig and Filipino American artist Reniel Del Rosario approached world-renowned dim sum restaurant Yank Sing with an innovative idea for an arts experience to celebrate Asian heritages and pride, build community bridges, and excite people to come back to downtown San Francisco and visit the city’s global destinations. Prior to the pandemic, Yank Sing’s two locations were open 365 days a year. Now with the city’s downtown struggles, it’s open just Wednesday through Sunday. 

The experience called AAPI Love A La Carte played out to loving fanfare on May 20th, 2023, as part of San Francisco’s celebration of AAPI Heritage Month. “Stop Asian Hate, Start Asian Love” was the tagline of the event. Hundreds of attendees were enjoying the event when Executive Director of the Office of Small Business Katy Tang arrived in place of Mayor London Breed to deliver a surprise proclamation of Yank Sing Day in San Francisco in recognition of 65 years in business. The crowd erupted in applause.

“We were so excited to be a part of this event when Value Culture and Reniel approached us with their unique idea. We have never done anything like this in our 65 years of business and we are thrilled to support our AAPI community and celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with such a fun experience.” said Vera Chan Waller of Yank Sing, “I was completely surprised when they announced the proclamation at the event and it brought tears to my eyes.”

Reniel Del Rosario (b. Iba, Philippines) is an artist that primarily uses ceramics, quantity, and satire to discuss themes of commodification and value—historical, cultural, and monetary. His projects range from interactive mimicries of consumer establishments, reimaginings of artifacts, and imperfect copies of already-existing objects.

This collaboration with Yank Sing and Value Culture used dim sum as the model for the AAPI Love A La Carte experience. Reniel based all of his pieces for this project off of Yank Sing’s most popular menu items. The pieces were sold in customized steamer baskets, a la Yank Sing’s famous pushcart service. 

Attendees were confused at first by the life-like pieces of art on the carts normally reserved for food. Remarkably, one set of the dim sum art was created with real gold, including a giant golden bao. At the event, Reniel announced that inspired by the work of Value Culture, all of the proceeds from his sales of these pieces would go to benefit up-and-coming artists in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

“We are deeply moved and surprised that the artist Reniel Del Rosario has announced to donate all of the proceeds from AAPI Love A La Carte toward CCC’s artist and youth development efforts in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Art and culture represent the soul and imagination of our communities, and yet, it’s deeply under-resourced on a neighborhood level. Through programs such as 41 Ross Artist-in-Residence and Generation Chinatown, this support will seed the next generation of artistic changemakers! Thank you to Value Culture and Reniel.” said Hoi Leung, Curator and Deputy Director, Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco. During the event, Yank Sing also announced the donation of all food and beverage sales from the event to the Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco.

“Our 2023 Value Culture Artist in Residence Reniel Del Rosario is a true emerging star in the Bay Area art scene. We were thrilled at the outcome of this amazing project to show love to the AAPI community and businesses and Reniel’s choice to donate all of the proceeds from these works to help the next generation of artists in San Francisco’s Chinatown.” said Adam Swig, Executive Director of Value Culture. “Just as thrilling was to be a part of Yank Sing Day and their generosity to the community, highlighting that downtown SF still has many treasures to offer!”

Reniel is Value Culture’s 2023 Artist in Residence (Prior Value Culture Artist in Residence Jimmie Fails now sits on the Value Culture Board of Directors). The mission of Value Culture is to produce and support artistic, educational, charitable, and spiritual events to inspire individuals to give back to their communities. Internationally recognized, Value Culture removes barriers to arts, culture, and philanthropy. The residency was generously supported by the Robert Joseph Louie Memorial Fund, and the event was supported by the San Francisco APA Heritage Foundation.

Collaborating on this project, Reniel and Value Culture asked the question; how can we stop Asian hate? 

San Francisco officials have received more than 60 reports of hate crimes against AAPI people in the city during 2021, a more than 500% increase in comparison to the nine incidents reported in 2020. Between March 2020 and March 31, 2022, the group Stop AAPI Hate recorded almost 11,500 reports of hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons in the United States.

Their answer: Asian love. Therefore they focused on engaging audiences with what is loved by all: food, art, culture, community, friendship, and Yank Sing. They were thrilled by the approval from the diverse crowd at the event, including people from the art world, community activists, and fans. 

“This project was right up my alley from the very beginning and I’m very happy with the outcome. Thank you. Value Culture has been a great partner to work with.” said Reniel Del Rosario. “I’m grateful we could show support for the community and the next generation of artists. We hope everyone had a memorable experience and got inspired to show some love from AAPI Love A La Carte on Yank Sing Day.”

Along with the art by Reniel, the festival-style event featured a jaw-dropping debut performance from Bay Area Dancing Story dance collective with direction, story, music, and choreography by Kelsie Fong, Nicole Chen, Jennifer Luo, London Jacobson, Alysia Evans, and Derek Sakakura. Attendees also enjoyed a live art demonstration by native San Franciscan AAPI artist Melanie Getman, a make-your-own dumpling sculpture activity for children, and event souvenirs created in collaboration with numerous San Francisco small businesses like SnapFiesta, Broken Seal Buttons, Annie’s Tea Cakes, The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, Duxwell Printing, and The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

“My family and I had a great time at Value Culture’s activation at Yank Sing. What a great way to bring communities together to honor a venerable Chinese American institution and an emerging AAPI artist. Food, art, and civic engagement — what could be better? This is the kind of experience that San Francisco needs!” said Thea Anderson, Director at the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco.

“What made the day special for me was seeing ceramic art in context at a cultural event where a large group of diverse people from all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, sexualities, and socio economic levels all enjoyed the playfulness and purposeful thought that art can bring to mindful people.” remarked ceramics specialist and collector Jeffrey Spahn, “I’m excited to add Reniel’s work on display in my gallery home alongside other California greats such as Robert Arneson founder of the Funk Ceramics Movement, and one of the greatest Trompe-l’oeil ceramic artists of all time Marilyn Levine.”

Business Development Director of Next SF Vas Kirinis agreed, “It’s never been more important to get out of our silos and work creatively with our community partners like Value Culture to create solutions to help us through these tough post pandemic times. Arts have the power to heal, unify and inspire!” Vas Kirinis documented his experience with an Instagram reel. The remaining limited edition works by Reniel from AAPI Love a la carte will be available for purchase at the Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco online/in-person Design Store, with some on display at Yank Sing Rincon Center. More information will be available at

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Grit Daily News is the premier startup news hub. It is the top news source on Millennial and Gen Z startups — from fashion, tech, influencers, entrepreneurship, and funding. Based in New York, our team is global and brings with it over 400 years of combined reporting experience.

Read more

More GD News