Monday, December 2, 2013

Little Mekong Plaza

St. Paul Meat Market located on University Ave between Mai Village and Little Szechuan restaurant
Community connections will lead the way....  As part of our initial meetings with the Green Lines Parks and Commons work-group,  Little Mekong Plaza was an early site for consideration as a demonstration site.  Va Meng the Executive Director of the Asian Economic Development Association ( AEDA), expressed a direct interest in having some sort of demonstration opportunity within the Little Mekong District as a effort to create a  plaza as a cultural beacon for the communities and businesses in the Little Mekong district, and as a safe community space that supports this cross-cultural district.

The focus of the work at this demo site will be on sustained community engagement by creating a painted plaza/community space that can used for a variety of activities and events.  In addition, the demo site activities will encourage discussion about removing a building (St. Paul Meat Market) that is currently on the plaza site, as well as visioning the future plaza/ green social and community space.  Va Meng, the Director of the Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA) and his HECUA intern Mai Vang, are spearheading this discussion.  

Our event was organized around  St. Paul’s Open Streets on September 15th with a goal to paint a predesigned mural (on the St. Paul Meat Market) and on the adjoining pavement to demarcate the possible plaza.  Local artists Kao Lee Thao, was hired to work with AEDA to create the design of the mural and pavement painting.  Community members  were invited to help with the actual painting (think “paint-by-the-numbers”) during Open Streets day.   Youth Leadership Members of Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT) worked with the artist, Kao Lee Thao to direct the public in the paint the plaza activities and also worked as DJ's for the event. 

Community Volunteer
Finished Mural
Artist/Designer Kao Lee Thao

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