Empowering New York’s Asian American Community Since 1989

Asian American Federation’s Small Business Program Unveils New Mural on Union Street to Improve Shopping Experience

New York City:  On Thursday, August 15, 2019, the Asian American Federation (AAF) presented Union Street: Where Home Is, the first-ever mural painting on Union Street in downtown Flushing. Created by visual artist Chemin Hsiao, the 30-foot long public artwork, located at 37-23 Union Street in Flushing, NY, is the first in a series of art projects planned by AAF as part of its small business program to beautify Union Street and enhance the shopping experience for customers.

As Union Street is home to some of the oldest Asian businesses in New York City, the mural is a tribute to these diverse immigrant communities whose rich contributions have been instrumental in building the vibrant life and culture of the area. The artwork features the famed number 7 subway line and important institutions and landmarks surrounding Union Street, including Latimer House, Flushing High School, Flushing Town Hall, Bowne House, the Weeping Beech Tree, and the Queens Botanical Garden.

AAF commissioned Queens-based visual artist Chemin Hsiao, who is himself an immigrant from Taiwan, to create the artwork. The project is supported in part by the New York Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC) and the New Work Grant from Queens Council on the Arts (QCA). The wall space was provided by Hanmi Realty.

 “We are thrilled to work with the EDC and Chemin Hsiao on this art project that tells the diverse and American story of the neighborhood and the valuable contributions of its immigrant residents. This beautiful legacy will remind people that Asian immigrants remain the economic engine of so many neighborhoods in this city long after our small business assistance program ends,” JoAnn Yoo, executive director of Asian American Federation, said.

“As the Flushing community continues to grow and evolve, we look forward to more opportunities to transform our public spaces and infrastructure into amenities that bring people together, stimulate our collective imaginations, and make residents and visitors alike feel welcome. Public murals are great ways to highlight the unique talents, diversity and character of our neighborhoods, and the Union Street mural is a great first step forward toward a new and improved Flushing,” said Council Member Peter Koo (D-Flushing)

“This mural pays tribute to the many contributions immigrants have made to the local community,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights).  “Flushing has a dynamic history and immigrants play a very prominent part in it. This mural captures that history while beautifying the neighborhood. I thank the Asian American Federation, the New York Economic Development Corporation and the Queens Council on the Arts, and Hanmi Realty for making this important project a reality.”

“I hope that people walk away with just a general sense of happiness,” visual artist Chemin Hsiao said. “As I was putting it up I would get a lot of children and families passing by in the afternoons on their way home, so I was able to see some of that positive reaction across generations. It’s great that people in the area can see themselves somehow in the mural and feel connected to each other and the community.”