Supervisor Honors Korean American Artist Suzy Taekyung Kim

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles hosted a press conference and personalized meet and greet for the local Koreatown community. Suzy Taekyung Kim was recently awarded with a major grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture for a unique public art project that will welcome visitors to a new 21-story County building currently under construction in Koreatown.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized today. I am overwhelmed from receiving so much support and encouragement. I am grateful to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for this opportunity,” commented Suzy Taekyung Kim.

This new building will serve as headquarters for the Los Angeles County Departments of Mental Health and Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services. The lobby, where Suzy Taekyung Kim’s artwork will be showcased, will host a peer resource center and walk-in mental health services, utilizing a ground-floor clinic and office space. With access to the Metro Vermont/Wilshire Red Line Station, Los Angeles County residents will be able to access an array of mental health services. The civic art project, entitled Canopy of Blooms uses a base layer of old Korean script which will be sealed and covered by flowers from Koreatown, embracing the fragility and strength of those who will pass through the future lobby.

“For me, this civic art project is a matter of revitalization, investment, and putting something good back into the community and city of Los Angeles. This project is not just about land usage – but about entrepreneurship, fairness and uplifting a culture,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“DMH embraces creativity and creative expression as platforms for healing so we are grateful for this artwork, heart forward,” said LA County Department of Mental Health Director Dr. Jonathan Sherin. “Its sheer creation and the energy it brings to our clients, staff and space will inspire hope, promote recovery and support wellbeing.”

Suzy Taekyung Kim was born in Daegu, South Korea. She is the recipient of several national and international awards including the Scholarship for North American Scholars. Her works can be found in a select number of private and corporate collections in Canada, Great Britain, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.  In 2016, she completed a permanent public art commission awarded from the New York City (NYC) Department of Cultural Affairs, Percent for Art Program in collaboration with the NYC School Construction Authority.

Canopy of Blooms is a multilayered painting that celebrates hope and healing. Situated in the grand lobby of the Vermont Corridor Building, this 53 x 10-foot artwork is at the entry point of the Department of Mental Health and Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services and warmly welcomes all. The painting reflects the unique identity of Koreatown through the analogy of an infinity loop of blooming motifs native to Los Angeles County. This artwork celebrates multi-generational life stories through the metaphor of natural elements. Throughout the artwork, the cascading waterfall background gradually changes colors mirroring the changing seasons. The imagery starts as a bubbling seed of dreams that become buds of growth, twisting vines, blooming flowers, and, finally, fallen petals and foliage. This change is rhythmic with improvisational elements forming an infinity loop, symbolizing the endless cycle of life. Conceived by Suzy Taekyung Kim, the painting highlights life’s journey through the metaphor of nature’s birth, growth, and death.

“The Department of Arts and Culture’s Civic Art Division integrates art and design in the development of high-quality civic spaces that reflect the diversity of Los Angeles County,” said Director Kristin Sakoda. “We are pleased to announce the selection of Suzy Taekyung Kim for her plan of strong public engagement and her connection between arts and community at this important facility.”

(Left to right): LA County DMH Director Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Korean American Federation of Los Angeles Chairman James Ahn, LA County Departments of Arts and Culture Director Kristin Sakoda, Artist Suzy Taekyung Kim, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Korean American Federation of Los Angeles President Dr. Laura Jeon, Trammell Crow Company Managing Director Greg Ames