Archive for September, 2017

Immigration Signs

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

The Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) and the Seattle Parks and Recreation (PARKS) commissioned me to create a temporary installation at The Ballard Commons Park. I did my installation about refugees and immigrants. I gathered information from ReWA ( that gives aid to women and immigrant families, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project ( and my mother a former ESL teacher to get content for the signs.

Language: Immigrants and refugees may speak many other languages besides English before they come to America. ELL (English Language Learners) classes could be available but some are afraid to attend because of a fear of authorities or have no access to transportation.

Isolation: Immigrants and refugees suffer from isolation. They may not know how to speak English or be in culture shock. Some suffer from depression or anxiety caused by economic instability and/or post traumatic stress.

Justice: In Washington State undocumented immigrants have no access to a public defender. If an immigrant or refugee is sent to a detention center and cannot afford to hire a lawyer they must face court alone and potential deportation.

Family Separation: Undocumented Immigrant families face potential separation at any time. Families have been encouraged to develop plans for what to do in such a situation. If the kids are allowed to remain in the US they must decide who the child will live with.

Driver’s License: It is possible for undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license in some states. As of February 2016 the list includes California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont and Washington. Driving without a license is illegal and if an undocumented immigrant is caught without one they can be sent to a detention center and be deported.

About Arts in the Parks

In 2018 the City is investing in a new online Citywide grants platform that will produce a better experience for applicants and aligns with race and social justice values by providing more equity in opportunities for artists and communities of color, is a major undertaking for ARTS and the City. While ARTS transitions to the new platform Arts in Parks will continue to partner with Seattle Parks and Recreation (PARKS) to increase arts and community events in parks throughout the city. The Arts in Parks Program (AIP) is an opportunity for the city to invest in the vibrant cultural work being done in and by diverse communities throughout Seattle.

Art Beat Blog-Office of Arts and Culture

September 1 to October 19
Immigration Signs
Artist: Michiko Tanaka
Ballard Commons Park
5701 22nd Ave. NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Attempting to increase understanding of the immigrant experience, Seattle artist Michiko Tanaka is developing a temporary installation in Ballard Commons Park. This installation will include artist-created icons, inspired by conversations with immigrant and refugee communities, that will be printed on “yield” traffic signs and attached to existing posts in Ballard Commons Park.