The Empathy Project is a temporary, site-specific public artwork installed upon the rear building façade of the Union Center for the Arts. This fiber-based street art project is a 12-foot diameter circle made out of red knit material to suggest the Japanese Flag. The circle has the word “empathy” written on it in a Japanese woman’s handwriting. The four main artists collaborating on The Empathy Project are Arzu Arda Kosar, Julie Kornblum, Darlyn Susan Yee, and Katelyn Dorroh, although there are many other artists involved behind the scenes.
The artistic goals of The Empathy Project are to express empathy toward people with ties to Japan in light of the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, and to inspire and urge local artists and arts professionals to share this sensibility. The target audience of this work that will be visible to the public at large is the Japanese American community in the Little Tokyo as well as the arts community that has been bourgeoning in the area.
The Empathy Project will be installed late afternoon on April 19 and will be removed by afternoon on April 25, 2011. The timing for this fiber-based street art project was chosen for the broadest audience with visitors to the Geffen Contemporary’s “Art In The Streets” exhibit, which includes primarily paint-based street art. The positive energy and message of The Empathy Project is expected to increase awareness of the Union Center for the Arts, home to East West Players, LA Artcore, and Visual Communications. After its temporary installation at the Union Center for the Arts, the artwork will live on at the 18th Street Arts Center.