The Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation (PARKS), has commissioned artist Kalina Chung to develop and install an artwork in a new park in the Little Saigon neighborhood, in the Chinatown International District. Chung will work closely with ARTS, the PARKS, Murase Associates (landscape architects), the Little Saigon Park Advisory Committee, and other community representatives to develop a site-specific art installation that will be integrated with the park design. The artwork will honor the history, cultures, and current experience of the communities that live nearby and hopes to inspire and inform residents and visitors about the history and future of the site as well as enhance the experience of park-goers and passers-by. The artwork and the park are expected to be completed in 2021.
Chung is a second-generation Asian-American woman, of both Chinese and Vietnamese descent. Her parents immigrated as teenagers from Vietnam to Seattle, where they met and started a family. They frequented Little Saigon nearly every day for a banh mi at Saigon Deli, pho at the OG Pho Bac, and groceries from Lam’s Seafood. She was a student of the Hengda Dance Academy, where she found a sense of belonging and a deeper understanding of her heritage. Little Saigon truly shaped her identity and she hopes to connect her family’s story to the stories of other members of the community through her artwork.
Chung received her BFA from the 3D4M (3-Dimensional Forum) Program at the University of Washington, and was a recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant in 2018. She was commissioned for a bamboo and metal installation in Occidental Park in 2020.
The Little Saigon Park site was purchased in 2013 after several years of community engagement led by PARKS’s property unit and conversations with several stakeholders interested in providing a park for Little Saigon. The park is located immediately adjacent to the Nisei Veteran’s Memorial Hall and the historic Victoria condominiums. As of January 2018, the park is now located within the International Special Review District.
Chung was selected by a panel of artists, community stakeholders, city staff and consultants. The project is commissioned with Seattle Parks and Recreation 1% for Arts funds.