Union Square just got a colorful summer makeover, and just in time for AAPI month!
Along the pedestrian areas of the 14th Street Busway between Broadway and Union Square West is a brand new street mural by NYC-based street artist Ji Yong Kim. Titled Ripples of Peace and Calm, the vibrant piece of public art is being installed over five days by community volunteers and you can see it now!
Like murals from previous years, Ripples of Peace and Calm is part of the NYC Department of Transportation’s Art Program and is supported by Street Plans, a Brooklyn-based design firm that repurposes asphalt to improve pedestrianized public space and streets. Of course, this one was also done with the Union Square Partnership.
The mural “takes inspiration from East Asian art to celebrate New York’s collective experience coming out of the pandemic to a brighter future” and features floating leaves and lotus flowers. “According to the artist, Ji Yong Kim, lotus flowers are often found in murky hazy ponds, but grow and reach for the light, eventually blooming a beautiful flower above muddy water. The growth and resilience symbolize our collective experience emerging from the pandemic to a brighter, more hopeful future.”
Other figurative elements like swimming koi fish represent good luck, prosperity, and perseverance to “symbolize not just the Asian community, but all resilient New Yorkers who fought this virus together.” There are also elements that highlight the history of social justice movements in Union Square.
The mural is the second artwork to be painted on the sidewalk extensions that were first installed in 2019 to make more walking spaces along the public busway, that already crosses the center of Union Square.
“Union Square is a gathering place where people have historically, and will always, come together to stand up against injustices and make their voices heard. Union Square Partnership is honored to welcome Ji Yong Kim’s work to 14th Street, and we celebrate this vital message of resilience, solidarity and unity with the Asian-American Pacific Islander community,” said Jennifer Falk, Executive Director of the Union Square Partnership. “The mural beautifully encapsulates the strength and resilience that all New Yorkers have demonstrated over the past two years, and we are proud to work alongside Ji Yong Kim to bring his artwork to our historic neighborhood.
Find out more on their website here!