Historic Higo Garden HubSeattle, WA
Funding from ArtPlace supports the reactivation of a hidden, historic outdoor space in Seattle’s Nihonmachi (Japantown) as a safe, accessible and sustainable community hub that will serve as a new cultural destination for The Wing’s walking tours and an economic driver for the entire neighborhood.
ArtPlace spoke with Beth Takekawa, Executive Director of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (The Wing), about this new project.
ARTPLACE: Who outside your organization has been key to your ability to move your initiative forward? Are there secrets to good partnerships?
TAKEKAWA: We have worked with several private, for-profit firms that have helped to advance our project. The first is Marpac Construction, a Seattle-based general contractor whose family has long-supported the revitalization of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Marpac has served as general contractor for rehab or new construction of at least ten of the major structures in the neighborhood, including the 1910 East Kong Yick building (The Wing’s home), completed in 2008. In addition, MarPac has participated in local advocacy initiatives and supported the Mar Family Association.
Recently, MarPac consulted on our planning for our ArtPlace-supported garden project in Nihomachi. We also worked with Jerry Chihara, a local architect, who serves on the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the garden project. Chihara is another example of a relationship with a private, for-profit business person with whom an arts and cultural organization can connect with in a way that transcends business.
Unlike strictly business or profit motivated relationships, a cultural organization can partner with a private entity based on common values and demonstrated commitment to the betterment of the community. This makes the outcome stronger and worth examining what motivates a business beyond dollar signs.
We believe one of the secrets to good partnerships is finding that balance between appreciating mutual business demands of each party in partnership, combined with identifying and connection with common commitments.