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The Future Ancient: Public Art celebration the reopening of the Seattle Asian Art Museum

By artist Che Sehyun

The Seattle Asian Art Museum is set to re-open February 2020 after closing for a $55 million renovation and remodel.  The reimagined and reinvisioned Asian Art Museum now offers a thematic, rather than geographic or chronological, exploration of art from the world’s largest continent.  An innovative partnership between the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and the museum has brought an unprecedented focus on local and contemporary Asian Pacific Islander (API) artists in a series of free workshops, pop-up events, temporary installations, and community gatherings curated by local Corean artist Che Sehyun.  Through a competitive process, Che’s public art proposal titled The Future Ancient was selected to expand SAAM’s opening events on the weekend of February 8 and 9, 2020, and continue throughout the summer to showcase the incredible talent of local API artists and community who value their cultural heritage in a future-forward and socially transformative way. 

Photo by Che Sehyun

The Future Ancient is an empowering model of public art, strategic community investment, and a curatorial process, which will present six months of free public programming that centers the life and perspective of local API artists.  In linking the mission of the Seattle Art Museum – to connect art to life and foster creativity and community – and intersecting with Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture’s values of equity, inclusion and access – The Future Ancient invests in and empowers local API artists doing the work through dollars, institutional support, and professional development alongside six months of community-lead public art engagements.  The Future Ancient is a framework that seeks to expand our consciousness and appreciate our diverse cultural heritage and past legacies in future forward thinking and transformative way.    

“The overarching goal is to create lasting impacts, investments, and relationships” notes Special Project Curator, Che Sehyun, “everyone is invited to join the programming that will occur in the museum and in Volunteer Park, but a lot of the work is also happening behind the scenes though mentoring and building capacity of local API artists who have such a rich cultural legacy and responsibility in our increasingly globalized world.” 

Updates, information and open calls for participation will be posted on The Future Ancient website (  This project is commissioned with Seattle Parks and Recreation 1% for Art funds and Administered by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.