Historic Higo Garden HubSeattle
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 Cassie Chinn, Deputy Executive Director of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (The Wing), about this new project:
ARTPLACE: What is your elevator pitch when you describe your project to people?
CHINN: Our work will activate the Higo Garden Hub, a green space located off an alleyway in Nihonmachi. Following the completion of this project, we will be able to incorporate this historic garden in our neighborhood tours and hold special Museum-organized events there, benefitting local residents, businesses and community members.
ARTPLACE: How do you expect to increase vibrancy in the place that you are working?
CHINN: Through this project, which will bring greater public awareness of the garden, we will create a new magnet in our neighborhood and draw people into Nihonmachi, one of three cultural districts that make up the Chinatown-International District. Currently there is construction for a new streetcar line occurring in the very same area as the garden, and this has had immediate effects — declining business in the neighborhood, fewer pedestrians during construction hours — but we are looking ahead to how to best engage transit riders and give them a reason to stop and pause in Nihonmachi. We hope that new transit can become a means to explore our neighborhood instead of just providing a pass-through.
We are also leveraging The Wing’s existing neighborhood walking tour program to bring new customers into Nihonmachi, simultaneously supporting local businesses and helping expand our tours program.