Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Meditation" Vandalism at Phalen Park

An ugly act of violence and hatred hit the Phalen Park neighborhood. On July 12, someone defaced areas of the park. The main target of this attack was the Asian and Asian American communities since the vandalism occurred during the Dragon Festival, but the racism was not directed at them alone. The most horrific of racist remarks and symbols were painting large-scale, defiling public space and public art.

The beautiful sculpture Meditation Lei Yixin was severely damaged. The icon was ground zero for this hate crime.

As complement to the efforts of the police and FBI, Public Art Saint Paul and East Side Arts Council are gathering the community on the evening of August 15th to create greater awareness of this tragedy, bring people together to foster understanding and peace, and to ask for help in cleaning the statue and safeguarding its future.

Please join us on Friday, August 15 as the healing begins in the stone symposium’s spirit of international amity. Watch this page for details of event program and logistics (such as parking).

Public Art Saint Paul's Press Release-

East Side Arts Council and Public Art Saint Paul Respond to
Phalen Park Hate Crimes

St. Paul Art and Cultural Organizations Plan Community-Wide Healing Event
to Restore Key Sculpture

St. Paul, Minn., Aug. 1, 2008 – The East Side Arts Council and Public Art Saint Paul announced plans today to repair the Phalen Park sculpture, Meditation, in response to hate crimes that occurred in the park on July 12, 2008. Public Art Saint Paul owns the sculpture by Chinese artist Lei Yixin that was created through the 2006 International Stone Carving Symposium, Minnesota Rocks!

“Citizens and organizations of the Phalen Park neighborhood are devastated by the appalling vandalism that occurred in Phalen Park,” said Sarah Fehr, Executive Director of the East Side Arts Council. “Public Art Saint Paul, District 5 Planning Council, East Side Neighborhood Development Corporation and many others are joining with us to collectively restore Meditation to its beautiful presence as a symbol of peace and tranquility for residents of St. Paul’s East Side.”

A community healing event on Friday, Aug. 15 will begin the restoration efforts. Details to follow in the coming weeks.

The following organizations are contributing to Meditation restoration and community awareness efforts surrounding the vandalism: East Side Arts Council, Public Art Saint Paul, East Side Neighborhood Development Company, Dragon Festival Committee, Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, East Side Peacemakers and District 5 Planning Council.

The investigation for the Phalen Park hate crimes is currently open. Images of the Meditation statue are available upon request.