There is new public art in a little part of San Diego known as Little Saigon, including a parking lot-sized mural now on display at a market on El Cajon Boulevard.
Two art installations were recently completed for Little Saigon Stories, a community-based arts program showcasing San Diego's Vietnamese-American community.
The Little Saigon District is a six-block corridor of Vietnamese restaurants and shops that spans El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue in City Heights. In 2013, this area was officially recognized by the city of San Diego as the Vietnamese epicenter of the city.
Today, locals will find one of these new works of art outside Sin Lee Food, a wholesale market located at 4665 El Cajon Blvd., at the center of the Little Saigon District.
There, artist Shinpei Takeda and his team painted a mural depicting a typical fishing boat that refugees used to flee Vietnam after the war. Takeda was inspired by the family that owns Sin Lee Food who fled Vietnam on a similar fishing boat.
Over at a building on the corner of 30th Street and El Cajon Boulevard, the second art installation features work by local students displayed in large storefront windows.
That building was formerly the site of a thrift store, but its owners are looking for new tenants and wanted to donate the space for the community art installation until then.
The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association hopes members of the San Diego community can learn about the neighborhood and its residents through the art.
The Association wants these installations to help create a dialogue and foster a sense of pride in the Vietnamese-American community.
It welcomes San Diegans to partake in an event on Sept. 6 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. called "Stroll the Boulevard," which will feature art showcases, food and drink specials, music and fun activites for the family.
More information about Little Saigon Stories can be found here.
Earlier this year, new freeway signs were added to this area, pointing travelers to the Little Saigon Cultural and Commercial District off Interstate 15 at El Cajon Boulevard.
At that time, Su Nguyen, a rep for the Little Saigon San Diego Foundation, called the installation of the signs a historic moment for San Diego's Vietnamese-American community.
The city has been working for the past several years to improve the Little Saigon area and make the corridor on El Cajon Boulevard a more vibrant, walkable place where people can shop, dine and explore the Vietnamese cultural elements that make this community unique.