A mural painting in Flushing is paying tribute to diverse immigrant communities that have contributed to the vibrant life and culture in the area.
The Asian American Federation (AAF) presented “Union Street: Where Home Is,” the first-ever mural painting on Union Street in downtown Flushing created by visual Taiwanese artist Chemin Hsiao, who is also an immigrant.
“I hope that people walk away with just a general sense of happiness,” Hsiao said. “As I was putting it up I would get a lot of children and families passing by in the afternoons on their way home, so I was able to see some of that positive reaction across generations. It’s great that people in the area can see themselves somehow in the mural and feel connected to each other and the community.”
The 30-foot long public artwork, located at 37-23 Union St., is the first in a series of art projects planned by AAF as part of its small business program to beautify Union Street and enhance the shopping experience for customers.
The artwork features the famed no. 7 subway line and important institutions and landmarks surrounding Union Street, including Latimer House, Flushing High School, Flushing Town Hall, Bowne House, the Weeping Beech Tree, and the Queens Botanical Garden.
The project is supported in part by the New York Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC) and the New Work Grant from Queens Council on the Arts(QCA). The wall space was provided by Hanmi Realty.
“We are thrilled to work with the EDC and Chemin Hsiao on this art project that tells the diverse and American story of the neighborhood and the valuable contributions of its immigrant residents. This beautiful legacy will remind people that Asian immigrants remain the economic engine of so many neighborhoods in this city long after our small business assistance program ends,” said JoAnn Yoo, executive director of Asian American Federation.
Ikhwan Rim, president of the Union Street Small Business Association in Flushing, said they’re looking forward to the transformed Union Street and hope that people continue to shop local and support the immigrant businesses in the community.
City Councilman Peter Koo said as the Flushing community continues to grow and evolve, they’re looking forward to more opportunities to transform their public spaces and infrastructure into amenities that bring people together, stimulate collective imaginations, and make residents and visitors alike feel welcomed.
“Public murals are great ways to highlight the unique talents, diversity and character of our neighborhoods, and the Union Street mural is a great first step forward toward a new and improved Flushing,” Koo said.
Congresswoman Grace Meng said, “We are unveiling this mural in a week like this when our immigrant communities have had so much tough news. It is a special and important moment to remember the tremendous contributions immigrants have made not just to Flushing and Queens, but to our entire country. This is our way of standing strong to say thank you to our various immigrant communities.”