Be KIND and Support the Mural Art Project too! by Ngoc-Tran Vu

We are raising additional funds through the KIND Campaign and we would love your help by voting for our community-led mural project! You can vote up to four times directly here.

Please do help spread the word to your family and friends as well! Thank you for your support.

"Approximately 20,000 Vietnamese residents live in Boston and have migrated here as refugees since 1975 yet their narratives are not widely known. “A Mural for the Vietnamese Community” involves the creation of a permanent large-scale outdoor mural that showcases the history, culture, and vision of the Vietnamese people in Dorchester, Boston's largest and most diverse neighborhood. At the heart of the project is a steering committee made up of residents who will provide feedback throughout the process. In creating and executing this mural project centered on the experience of the Vietnamese American community, we hope to raise awareness, facilitate dialogue, and inspire engagement for a more inclusive Dorchester, Boston and beyond." #VietStoriesMural #DOTCommunity

Video by David Shoup

 

Getting Smart with Art by Ngoc-Tran Vu

From long days of work, from different areas, the art team still had few more task to go for. After the Steering Committee meeting from Saturday, art team got together to further discuss on the suggestions made of the draft presented on Wednesday. The team was deciding the proportions of the boards and how the small art work was going to be stretched into the big canvas itself. They knew they had to get smart with art on a physical level. Getting back on the drawing boards, then members came along to work with the real boards for the following days.

Left to Right: Tam, Tony, Justin, Kathy   Putting all thoughts and minds together for the art pieces. (Photo: Tran)

Left to Right: Tam, Tony, Justin, Kathy  
Putting all thoughts and minds together for the art pieces. (Photo: Tran)

The Working Process Behind the Scenes
Down in an eerie location, where pieces of the mural canvas is at, members changes up the mood of the location. Everyone was hard at work, having fun and bonding with members of different age range! Kicking shoes off to work in comfort! Every members had their hands on deck! From heavy lifting, sanding down boards, rolling on base coats, mixing paint, etc. There was a lot to be done, in a cut-out time! However, in all hard work, there were still moments to have fun! Music, laughter, and jokes flew in and about the location! How said working had to be boring and serious all the time? 

Tran hard at work piecing art together! (Photo: Kathy)

Tran hard at work piecing art together! (Photo: Kathy)

Left to Right: Tommy and Tony                               Tommy and Tony are working hard on glossing paint coats. (Photo: Kathy)

Left to Right: Tommy and Tony                               Tommy and Tony are working hard on glossing paint coats. (Photo: Kathy)

Our youngest member, Kimberly (7 yrs old), came in to help with work and volunteer to her time!             (Photo: Kathy)

Our youngest member, Kimberly (7 yrs old), came in to help with work and volunteer to her time!             (Photo: Kathy)

Kimberly: "SMILE!" Tony: *smiles* (Photo: Kimberly)

Kimberly: "SMILE!"
Tony: *smiles*
(Photo: Kimberly)

Left to Right: Kimberly and Tony Duo team hard at work sanding down the board and cleaning off the board!                                           (Photo: Kathy)

Left to Right: Kimberly and Tony
Duo team hard at work sanding down the board and cleaning off the board!                                           (Photo: Kathy)

Hung is unwrapping a new board with Tony (off camera) to prep for the sanding process. (Photo: Kathy)

Hung is unwrapping a new board with Tony (off camera) to prep for the sanding process.
(Photo: Kathy)

As far as this process goes, it seems like there will be no problem working with one another. It already seems like a big family at work! This project as only pulled community members closer by every meet!

- Kathy Le

Steering Forward! by Ngoc-Tran Vu

The week was long, this Saturday started slow, but that did not stop anyone from getting work done! Though a few members could not make it, each members still participated like last meet. In the time span between last Steering Committee meeting to this recent one, art team has been putting drafts of what the blank canvas would showcase. Drafts followed by drafts, there was something to present in the meeting. However, just because it was presented to the meeting, does not mean the draft is made final. Throughout the meeting, every member contribute ideas and feedbacks to further challenge the creativity in the project. Questions were thrown from every sides of the room asking if the theme and art piece itself meant each other halfway. Most times, the meeting was serious, but of course there were fun discussions as well. Hopefully, by the next meeting session, ideas placed on the table would come alive in the final product.

Left to right: Hung, Cuong, Kathy, Tran                      Tran was presenting and dissecting ideas that were put into the mural. (Photo: Son Ca)

Left to right: Hung, Cuong, Kathy, Tran                      Tran was presenting and dissecting ideas that were put into the mural. (Photo: Son Ca)

Left to right: Grace, Tommy, Tam, Cuong, Joan Everyone was focused and attentive to the presentation; Tam discussed the details within the creativity. (Photo: Carolyn)  

Left to right: Grace, Tommy, Tam, Cuong, Joan Everyone was focused and attentive to the presentation; Tam discussed the details within the creativity. (Photo: Carolyn)  

Left to right: Tam, Hung, Son Ca, Cuong, and Joan                                                                                                     Even in the serious times of getting our work on, there are light moments. (Photo: Carolyn)  

Left to right: Tam, Hung, Son Ca, Cuong, and Joan                                                                                                     Even in the serious times of getting our work on, there are light moments. (Photo: Carolyn)  

Left to right (back row): Tam, Tony, Tommy, Carolyn, Joan, Hung                                                                                 Left to right (front row): Cuong, Grace, Kathy, Tran (Photo: Son Ca) After a long day of meeting session, it seems that members are glad we are steering forward! - Kathy Le

Left to right (back row): Tam, Tony, Tommy, Carolyn, Joan, Hung                                                                                 Left to right (front row): Cuong, Grace, Kathy, Tran (Photo: Son Ca)

After a long day of meeting session, it seems that members are glad we are steering forward!

- Kathy Le

"Thousand Star Hotel" with Bao Phi by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Bao Phi is by the lectern, reading his pieces from his published book to the audience.          (Photo: Tran)

Bao Phi is by the lectern, reading his pieces from his published book to the audience.          (Photo: Tran)

On a cool Monday, Vietnamese American poet Bao Phi had held an event at the Pao Art Center, where he passionately reads his pieces, from his published book, "Thousand Star Hotel," then ends it on a question and answer session. His published book contains poems written from his experiences, his parents' experience, struggles from being Asian and/or foreign. Written pieces dissects the idea of self-hate, love desire, etc. The process of the book was written in a mindset, which he challenges himself to resist the negative lens given by culture and society.

This event was very special and worth the experience. Especially hearing from Bao Phi, as he shows his colors and great gratitude to every members (from volunteers, staffs to audience members). He also spoke about the importance of having more than just one Vietnamese narrative and that the Vietnamese people are the best ones to tell their stories.

Don't worry if you missed his reading, you can still get a hold of his book, "Thousand Star Hotel," where you can read more pieces than what he presented that day! All in all, it was a great way to end a Monday night!

-Kathy Le

Blank Canvas by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Artist team at work!

Left to right: Tam, Tony, and Kathy (Photo: Tran) Artist's at work! In the moment, artist team were discussing how designs could improve!

Left to right: Tam, Tony, and Kathy (Photo: Tran)

Artist's at work! In the moment, artist team were discussing how designs could improve!


Left to right: Kathy, Tran, and Tony (Photo: Tam)  Art Team decided to go outside to talk more on how the mural could be assembled on the wall!

Left to right: Kathy, Tran, and Tony (Photo: Tam) 

Art Team decided to go outside to talk more on how the mural could be assembled on the wall!

On Wednesday, the artist team got together to discuss more about design that is being placed upon the wall. It was suggested that we go outside and look at the wall to get better gist of what was happening. Not long after, ideas being suggested were put together! Though Justin could not make to the meeting that day, physically, he called in to join the discussion. Happy to say, after long time drafting with the design idea put together, we can bring this idea to the Steering Committee soon! 

-Kathy Le

Boards are in! by Ngoc-Tran Vu

No need to wait any longer! The boards are finally in!

Tam and Hung are taking care of the board upon its arrival!

Tam and Hung are taking care of the board upon its arrival!

With the boards in, the mural project is getting closer to the painting process and its opening as well! We are all excited with the whole process getting a move on the road!

-Kathy Le

Have You Been "Tied Together by a Thousand Threads?" by Ngoc-Tran Vu

"Tied Together by a Thousand Threads"

Missed out on the unveiling of another community's mural, in Chinatown, on this cloudy morning? Don't worry! Think Chinatown 2017 Team, ACDC, and their supporting members have put up a mural that goes through the history of Chinatown itself. The ceremony provided acts, bubbles, and the inspirational backstory of how this mural came to be as well. Though it may seem conveniently best to tell it here, it would defeat the point of see this mural yourself. The mural is located at 15-25 Harrison Avenue, next to Beard Papa and Chatime. Go check it out and support the project!

-Kathy Le

Steering the Right Way! by Ngoc-Tran Vu

On this sunny Saturday at 3pm, the Steering Committee board came together to discuss about the mural. The agenda consisted of many tasks to go through, but that did not slow the team down. The first thing each member did was introduced each other to the whole team after doing "turn-and-talks." But, of course, turning and talking, and introducing each other does not tell each board members much about how everyone works. Certainly, to see how members work with each other, we loosened the tensions and went into a team building exercise. 

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Team Building

To get the team to loosen up and feel comfortable with each other, Kathy Le lead the Steering Committee into the game of "Where the Wind Blow."

(Photo: Kevin Lam)

 


Hung Vu explaining to the Committee the dimensions of the available wall space. (Photo: Kevin Lam)

Hung Vu explaining to the Committee the dimensions of the available wall space. (Photo: Kevin Lam)

We then moved into the artists' design presentation and members shared further ideas and thoughts.

Left to right: Michelle Christian, Hung Vu, Justin Nguyen, Tommy Nguyen, Tam Le, Grace Ejiwale.
(Photo: Kevin Lam)

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"Where the Wind Blows "

As we got more into the game, positive energy built up, and people felt more comfortable sharing more about themselves. (Photo: Kevin Lam)

 

 


After the team building game, we jumped right into the process of the mural project, starting with its materials. Tran introduced the materials the project would be working with while Hung Vu, the engineer, explained the dimensions of the wall and its placement. Hung discussed how many board pieces would be required to cover the available wall. 

 

As people presented, Committee members took notes and did their best to ask questions and give feedbacks.

Left to right: Kathy Le, Joan DoTruong, Duoc Nguyen, Cuong Nguyen.

(Photo: Kevin Lam)

Top row: Tam Le; Middle row, left to right: Justin Nguyen, Hung Vu, Michelle Nguyen, Tommy Nguyen, and Grace Ejiwale; Awkward bottom row, left to right: Kathy Le, Joan DoTruong, Duoc Nguyen, Tran Vu, and Cuong Nguyen. (Photo Credit: Kevin Lam); Missing: Tony Vu in the photo

Top row: Tam Le; Middle row, left to right: Justin Nguyen, Hung Vu, Michelle Nguyen, Tommy Nguyen, and Grace Ejiwale; Awkward bottom row, left to right: Kathy Le, Joan DoTruong, Duoc Nguyen, Tran Vu, and Cuong Nguyen.

(Photo Credit: Kevin Lam); Missing: Tony Vu in the photo

The three-hour meeting ended up going over a few minutes, but that was not a problem! The Steering Committee did a lot to steer the designs and ideas the right way. The mural project is on its way thanks to the Steering Committee and the Artists team, but we are not done just yet. The team still has much more great work ahead of us. Thank you to everyone who made the meeting possible, especially to Phở Hòa Restaurant for providing the food and space!

-Kathy Le

Bright Ideas! by Ngoc-Tran Vu

On this sunny Wednesday, in Reign Drink Lab, the artists gathered for a brief meeting where bright ideas for the mural was jumping around! We also did preparation for the Steering Committee meeting, in the upcoming Saturday! Though time wasn't on our side today, we did get a lot figured out. From symbols to purpose of each assigned ideas, we only get closer to making the mural happen. The next question for us to move into mural project itself is... How will our team put the ideas and themes into the project for the community? Guess we'll have to find out soon, where brighter ideas will come together!

-Kathy Le

From left to right, clock-wise: Tony Vu, Justin Nguyen, Ngoc-Tran Vu, and Kathy Le (Photo: Sky)

From left to right, clock-wise: Tony Vu, Justin Nguyen, Ngoc-Tran Vu, and Kathy Le (Photo: Sky)

Dorchester cohort check-in by Ngoc-Tran Vu

We had a check-in meeting today. Storyteller Valerie Stephens, Writer and Project Manager Denise Delgado, and I gave updates on our Creative City projects and shared our on-going challenges as well as progresses over some great Vietnamese food. Fun fact: this Phở Hòa Restaurant is where the mural project will be at on the big wall of the right side of its main entrance. Thank you ladies for a wonderful and fruitful lunch!

All artists meeting with Valerie Stephens, Tran Vu, and Denise Delgado at Phở Hoà Restaurant.

All artists meeting with Valerie Stephens, Tran Vu, and Denise Delgado at Phở Hoà Restaurant.

Second Artists' Meeting by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Workshopping our ideas. (Photo: Sky)

Workshopping our ideas. (Photo: Sky)

Left to right: Tony Vũ, Tâm Le, Kathy Le, Tran Vu, and Justin Nguyen. (Photo: Sky)

Left to right: Tony Vũ, Tâm Le, Kathy Le, Tran Vu, and Justin Nguyen. (Photo: Sky)

Today at Reign Lab Drink in Fields Corner, we workshopped our ideas and designs. We narrowed down the main themes of the mural to be: Vietnamese Presence, Unity, and Brighter Future where we further talked about symbolisms. We wanted represented major symbols that would relate the community in the project, itself. In the following week, we will meet again on, Wednesday, to continue prepare for our big design presentation, at the first Steering Committee meeting on Saturday, July 1st.

First Artists' Meeting! by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Left to right: Tony Vu, Kathy Le, Tran Vu, and Justin Nguyen on webcam. (Photo: Liz Bishop)

Left to right: Tony Vu, Kathy Le, Tran Vu, and Justin Nguyen on webcam. (Photo: Liz Bishop)

Woohoo! We got the project started and on the road! We approached with our first meeting today, with local Vietnamese youth artists, at the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), located in VietAID Community Center, in Dorchester. We've brainstormed some ideas and sketches out preliminaries images to talk about as our starting blocks. Justin was out of town, physically, but was able to meet virally through his webcam to join in our first artist meeting.

We are looking for more Steering Committee Members in the Project! by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Are you a Dorchester resident or connected to the neighborhood in some way? Do you want to participate and support a community-collaborative mural project? Are you able to attend all of the following meeting dates and big event? 

Saturday, July 1st 3-6pm                                                                                                             Saturday, August 5th 3-6pm                                                                                                           Saturday, September 2nd 12-3pm                                                                                                 Mural's Opening Party: Saturday, September 30th (TBA time)

If yes to all of these questions, please let us know asap! We want to hear from you.

Info Session Action! by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Thank you everyone who came out for the info session today and for Tam for generously hosting us at Reign Lab Drink! What insightful and fruitful conversations we had for two hours. In addition, please help us spread the word about the Mural Project and ways to participate below:

  1. Join the Steering Committee
  2. Join the Artists crew
  3. Support the project overall
Attendees in talks at Reign Lab Drink. (Photo: Tommy Nguyen)

Attendees in talks at Reign Lab Drink. (Photo: Tommy Nguyen)

Attendees in discussions. (Photo: Tommy Nguyen)

Attendees in discussions. (Photo: Tommy Nguyen)

Project's Info Session by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Our info session will be happening this Saturday! Please invite your family, friends, and neighbors to come and learn more about the project and how to get involved.

(Flyer: Kathy Le)

(Flyer: Kathy Le)

NEFA's Creative City Artist by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Woohoo my new cards for the project is on its way to the printer and will be coming out soon! It will be available in local public spaces in Fields Corner and Dorchester. Feel free to email me or Kathy if you would like one.

[Frontside of postcard] Photo: Richie Leng, Art: Daniel Villafaña

[Frontside of postcard] Photo: Richie Leng, Art: Daniel Villafaña

[Backside of postcard]

[Backside of postcard]

Our weekly meeting by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Kathy and I meet weekly to plan for the project over bubble tea in Fields Corner. In today's meeting at CocoLeaf in Fields Corner, we have a few guests including Kevin Lam and Jeannie Do from AARW, the project's Community Partner, and Tony Vu, a local college student who's interested in supporting the project.

Back row from left: Kevin Lam and Tony Vu; Front row from left: Jeannie Do and Tran Vu. (Photo: Kathy Le)

Back row from left: Kevin Lam and Tony Vu; Front row from left: Jeannie Do and Tran Vu. (Photo: Kathy Le)

Creative City's 4th Cohort Gathering by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Creative City's fourth cohort of Boston artists. (Photo courtesy: NEFA)

Creative City's fourth cohort of Boston artists. (Photo courtesy: NEFA)

We met today and shared about our work with one another as well as got connected to the wealth of information, resources, and guides for our projects. Congrats to all the Creative City grantees and I look forward to getting to know everyone and their practices more! So exciting! 

Meet my new project assistant Kathy Le! by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Meet Kathy Le. (Photo Courtesy: Kathy Le)

Meet Kathy Le. (Photo Courtesy: Kathy Le)

Kathy Le is a 17 years old Vietnamese American who attends Boston Latin Academy as a junior. Her extra-curricular activities include volleyball, being the art director and now president for the Asian Student Association Club. Kathy has grown up in Dorchester for most of her life and she's glad to be a part of the project and share her ideas.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the project, please reach out to Kathy, at le.k.bla312@gmail.com. 

I am super excited to have Kathy join the mural project and I look forward to working with her! Welcome to the team :D