Friday, November 06, 2009
Korean Bell Garden @ Meadowlark
The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has an MOU with the Korean American Cultural Committee(KACC) (a non-profit group out of the Annandale area) to build a bell garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna.
KACC has been working for several years to raise the funds necessary to build the bell pavilion and gardens that will be built on a hillside overlooking the main lake at Meadowlark. It is a very exciting project with the bell and pavilion being designed by Professor David Chung from the University of Michigan.
Recently I had the opportunity to go to Korea with several others that are working on this project. Our trip was funded by the Korea Foundation and included tours of many historic palaces, gardens and museums, in addition to meetings with numerous branches of the federal government in Seoul as well as officials from GyeonGi Province, which is a sister state to Virginia.
The trip was truly fantastic, and from it we all gained a much deeper appreciation for traditional Korean gardens and architecture.
These enormous cast iron bells have been made in essentially the same way since around 770 AD. I particularly like the rugged and natural look of Korean gardens.
2010 and 2011 are going to be the big years for developing this garden. Next June we will hold a ground breaking ceremony to correspond to the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.
More information on this project can be seen at: http://kacc.us/
The partnership with KACC and its Chair, Ms Jeung Hwa Elmejjad-Yi has been fantastic. Our trip to Korea resulted in strong pledges of support from the Korean Government and others. That combined with the good local fundraising efforts of KACC are going to make this project not just a success, but a significant tourist attraction and symbol of the partnership between Korea and America and of the great contributions that Korean/Americans continue to make to our society. Virginia has around 45,000 people of Korean decent and nearly 35,000 of those live in Fairfax County, making Meadowlark Gardens an idea location of this bell garden.
Images of the trip can be seen on the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42732056@N02/sets/72157622563883469/