A Celebration of Seattle’s Asian Community

These are people gathered in Hing Hay Park in Seattle’s International District to celebrate the Lunar New Year and witness dragon and lion dances, Taiko drumming, and martial arts performances.

In his opening remarks, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray reminded us all of how a mob rounded up Chinese from this very neighborhood on February 7, 1886, and tried to force them aboard a steamship for passage out of Seattle. And how the Japanese, many of whom were American citizens, were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses the week of April 28, 1942, an expulsion authorized by Executive Order 9066, which President Roosevelt had signed on February 19, 1942.

And so despite DT’s cruel, mean-spirited, and un-American actions of this past week, Mayor Murray asserted that as we celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of this Asian community, Seattle remains committed to being a welcoming city for refugees and immigrants in need.

Kung Hee Fat Choy!

Happy Lunar New Year and welcome to the Year of the Rooster. Those born under this Chinese Zodiac sign are said to be loyal, trustworthy, confident, and sociable. Some say a rooster can also be pompous—always bragging about himself and his accomplishments. This reminds me of someone who shall remain nameless.

Drawn with an Apple Pencil, using the Procreate app on an iPad.

Iolani Palace

While the recent cold snap is easing a bit here in Seattle with temperatures returning to the upper 30s, I still miss the warmth and fragrance of Hawaii. During our recent trip there, I did this quick 20-minute sketch while waiting for the weekly Friday performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band on the grounds of Iolani Palace. King Kamehameha III founded the brass band in 1836, which is now considered to be the oldest, full-time municipal band in the U.S. I still remember as a child growing up in Honolulu attending their Sunday afternoon concerts at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki.

Pacific Place: Looking Up, Looking Down

Today, the Seattle Times had an article in their Pacific NW magazine about the popularity of malls in this area. The piece leads off with the statement that, unlike other parts of the country, “Local malls are…thriving, thanks to Seattle’s strong economy, all the people moving here and the fact that don’t have too many.” And so it was a coincidence that the Seattle Urban Sketchers group met this morning at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle, a vertical shopping mall with a four-story, semi-cylindrical atrium space. The first view is looking up into the atrium while the second view is looking down from the top floor. The third view is a similar view looking down from the opposite end of the atrium, but done 6 years ago.

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Honolulu Hale

When Joseph Fern became mayor of the City & County of Honolulu in 1907, he began a campaign to build a permanent city hall. Unfortunately, it was not until 1928, eight years after Fern’s death, that the idea came to fruition. Several local architects—C.W. Dickey, Hart Wood, Robert Miller, and Rothwell Kangeter & Lester—contributed to the design of the Spanish Colonial Revival style structure, which has an interior courtyard, staircase, and open ceiling modeled after the Bargello in Florence.

Originally called the Honolulu Municipal Building, today it is known as Honolulu Hale (Honolulu House) and is the official seat of government of the city and county, including the Mayor’s office and the City Council chambers. In 1978, Honolulu Hale was listed as a contributing property to the Hawaii Capital Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes Iolani Palace, Kawaiahaʻo Church, and the Territorial Building.

The Rainbow Bazaar

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This is a view of a courtyard in the Rainbow Bazaar in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki, dominated by a huge banyan tree. The resort hotel was originally conceived of and built by Fritz Burns and industrialist Henry Kaiser in 1955 on the site of the old Niumalu Hotel and eight oceanfront acres of the Ena Estate at the Ewa end of Waikiki. Over time, the hotel complex grew to 22 acres and was purchased by Conrad Hilton.

Growing up in Hawaii, my exposure to the world beyond Oahu’s shores was illuminated through books, movies, and TV shows. And so when the Rainbow Bazaar was created as part of the hotel complex in 1970, I was fascinated by the faux Asian environment, which included replicas of a Thai temple and a Japanese pagoda, as well as an entire Japanese farmhouse shipped from Japan. While some may criticize the appropriation of Asian culture to sell ethnic and tourist goods, for me walking through the Rainbow Bazaar even today is an opportunity to imagine and re-imagine visiting foreign places.

Green Lake Branch Library

Eight Seattle libraries were part of the 2,509 public libraries that Andrew Carnegie had funded from 1880 to 1929, both in the U.S. and around the world. The Green Lake Branch Library is one of the original eight and also one of the six which are still functioning as libraries today.

Designed by W. Marbury Somervell and Joseph S. Coté and opening in 1910, the Green Lake branch shares a common floor plan with the University and West Seattle branches but the three have differently styled exteriors. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a landmark building listed by Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board.

Below are views of the Ballard and Fremont branches, two of the Seattle Carnegie libraries that I had drawn previously.