Little Saigon gets new art installation

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SAN DIEGO — A new art installation on the corner of 30th Street and El Cajon Boulevard will be the centerpiece of an end-of-summer festival Friday hosted by the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.

The installation, located at the former site of the Thrift Trader thrift store, is part of the Little Saigon Stories community art program intended to highlight the city’s Vietnamese-American community. Media Arts Center San Diego launched the program in 2017 with the ECBBIA, the Little Saigon Foundation and the AjA Project.

The installation includes a showcase of art by local students in the storefront’s display windows. The Thrift Trader installation and a second installation — a mural covering a parking lot in City Heights created by AjA Project co-founder and artist Shinpei Takeda — were both unveiled by Little Saigon Stories last month.

“We are always looking for new ways to create special community gathering spaces, similar to what we have been able to do with Fair@44,” said Beryl Forman, the ECBBIA’s marketing and mobility coordinator. “By transforming a boring parking lot or an empty storefront into something not only beautiful, but that also tells a story, creates dialogue and fosters a sense of community pride, that’s really powerful.”

The Thrift Trader installation will be on display during the business improvement association’s Stroll the Boulevard festival, which will span El Cajon Boulevard between Idaho and Illinois streets. The festival will feature more than 20 participating local vendors and businesses, plus live entertainment.

Stroll the Boulevard is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Friday.

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