December Issue: Building a Museum of Our Own
Author: KoreAm
Posted: December 7th, 2012
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , December 2012
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A view of the L.A. city parking lot, at Vermont Avenue and Sixth Street, that will be the permanent site for the Korean American National Museum.

If You Build It

Plans are underway to build the first Korean American National Museum, which has roots in a former museum founded in the 1990s.


It was the evening of the Downtown Art Walk last November in Los Angeles — a once-a-month, self- guided crawl through the gentrifying city center — and several hundred people crowded into PYO Gallery LA, an off- shoot of the widely respected PYO Gallery in Seoul, to see “a celestial space,” a solo retrospective of the late Korean American artist Jin Ho Song, co-hosted with the Korean American Museum.

After a four-year exhibition hiatus, and a history of fits and starts, this gallery-museum collaboration marked the beginning of a new era. On Oct.1, KAM signed a 55-year lease with the City of Los Angeles for a long-awaited permanent site at City Parking Lot No. 692, at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Sixth Street in the heart of Los Angeles’s Koreatown.

“It’s long overdue,” said Dr. Kay Song, KAM Exhibition Committee chair and board member. “We want to build the first Korean American National Museum [to] feature our story— the Korean American story.”

With the new agreement in place, the museum will launch a $5 million fundraising campaign in the spring of 2013 in order to build a 45,000-square- foot, three-story cultural center, according to city documents. The museum has announced such campaigns in the past, but this one seems the most viable, with a site both predetermined and secured. The museum needs to start building within three years, or the land deal terms can change. Continue Reading »

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