First Hill Residency

On a recent trip to Japan I was impressed with all the good luck charms you could buy at shrines. I wanted to introduce this tradition to the States and have been able to with this mini residency with First Hill Improvement Association. For three Fridays in December I handed out Emas and had people create Omikuji. Along with the charms I provided green tea and Japanese sweets.

Omikuji in First Hill Park
Emas and Sweets
Emas in a Shinto shrine

First Hill Community News

First Hill Improvement Association secured an Arts in Parks Wintertime Community Event grant for a First Hill Park Artist Residency. FHIA put out a Request for Proposals, seeking an artist or group of artists to take up residency in First Hill Park, engage with park users and create non-permanent public art during the month of December. FHIA selected artist Michiko Tanaka, who will begin her Residency this Friday, December 6th from 10am to 1pm and continue on December 13th and 20th, 10am to 1pm. 

Michiko Tanaka is originally from Centralia WA and spent 18 years traveling and living around the world before settling in Seattle in 2010. She attended The Evergreen State College and started a freelance art career after graduating in 1997. For 13 years she painted for theaters, operas, museums, public organizations and private residences. Since moving to Seattle she changed her focus to doing studio and public art. Some of her recent projects have been for Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, Sound Transit, The Greenwood Neighborhood Association, Washington Global Health Alliance, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Storefronts and Spaceworks.

Michiko is half Japanese and on a recent trip to Japan, one thing she noticed was how important good luck is in Japanese culture. People can buy good luck charms, visit particular shrines for specific wishes, burn incense and much more. Michiko would like to introduce this concept to First Hill Park users and give people good luck for the new year. 

Michiko will create a temporary installation of Omikuji (paper fortunes). Traditionally these are fortunes you buy at a shrine. If the fortune is good you keep it. If it is bad you tie it to a string and leave the bad luck at the shrine. Michiko will be inviting people to write whatever bad luck they experienced in the last year on the paper and tie it to a string in the park. Michiko will also be handing out Emas. Traditionally these are bought at shrines. People write a wish on each Ema and leave them at the shrine. Michiko will give out an Ema for people to write on for good luck in the New Year. 

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