Every Pacific Rim Park tells a story about the transformative power of art and the ways in which many nations bordering a “peaceful” ocean can get along. There are six parks currently, and the next is about to be built in Yantai, China. Students from ten Pacific Rim countries will gather in Yantai for a 29-day design-build effort—from June 29th through July 28, 2018—to build this new park. As our video demonstrates, they will find friendship, bridge differences and create a lasting public park that welcomes Yantai into the Pacific Rim Park community.
The new park will join six others on the shores of the Pacific Ocean—each designed and built in 29 days by artists, students, and the host communities. The first was built in 1994 in Vladivostok, followed by parks in San Diego, Tijuana/Rosarito, Puerto Princesa, Jeju Island, and Kaohsiung. After the Yantai park is completed, it will be given to the citizens of Yantai and available for public use.
A mosaic pearl sculpture sits as the centerpiece of every park, symbolizing beauty made from a grain of sand, an irritant, and as part of a larger whole—a string of pearls embracing the Pacific. We see this as a metaphor for the sometimes difficult relationships between nations whose coastlines share this vast body of water. “We need to think of ourselves as a family,” says PRP artistic director and founder, James Hubbell. “Even if we don’t necessarily like one another, we don’t need to burn down each others’ houses.” The Pacific Rim Park project bridges cultures by celebrating the beauty of shared public spaces and promoting a deep respect for the environment, art, and each other.
The new park in Yantai is happening just 29 days from now and, with your support, we will add one more pearl to the Pacific Rim Park!
Yantai, our host city, is generously donating hundreds of thousands of dollars of in-kind support to the project in the form of building supplies, dorms for housing the students, transportation, cultural excursions, food, and even a donation of the valuable ocean-front land on which the park will be built. It is up to the rest of the Pacific Rim Park communities to contribute additional dollars to cover the hard costs of building a park—travel for our artistic director, James Hubbell, and our team of design directors and construction experts, plus additional building costs and unforeseen expenses that may occur. We MUST raise $20,000 (or more), a third of our expected costs, through this 29-day Kickstarter campaign. If we can build an entire park in 29 days, we know, WITH YOUR SUPPORT, we can raise $20,000 in that same amount of time! Thank you for your pledge—no matter how small—and welcome to the Pacific Rim family!
I was wondering why I have this fixation on The Pacific. I think the actual moment came in 1994, we did the first student-built Pacific Rim Park in Vladivostok, Russia; then seeing the fascinating ice patterns on the sea off the shores of Siberia; and as a teenager, surfing next to the pier in Del Mar (yes, there was a pier back then!), being startled by a mustached sea lion not 2 feet behind me. Then there was Torrey Pines beach with its golden cliffs, where my wife Anne and I got to know each other. Walking at the edge of the sea, I was curious by what seemed to be a bath tub carved by the Indians. I would like to thank the Kumeyaay people for sharing that magic place with me.
In Vladivostok, as we were building another park, the idea came to the students to replace the Ring of Fire, (the name given to the circle of volcanoes in the Pacific), and call it a String of Pearls. I then tried to explain to my Russian friends that Vladivostok would greatly benefit by becoming a sister city with San Diego where they could then connect to North America and Latin America in one place. The Pacific is so very big, containing the North and South poles in one sea and a multitude of the wonders of nature and fascinating cultures explored in the beginning by people tuned in with its currents, seeking a new way of life.
Today, in much the same way, we are probing the Universe, exploring the strange predicament as to what it means to be human, and trying to learn how to live with—and fall in love with—billions of galaxies. Then there is this strange growth we have decorated our Pacific with, an island of plastic bits over 300,000 square miles that cries out for help.
What if the Pacific were a new culture... different from the Atlantic cultures, a new way of understanding our place in the world? What if the countries and people that live by this grand lake thought of themselves as a family? This almost seems hopelessly naïve, but if we are able to imagine it, it is then possible. Could we be at the door of a culture for the celebration of our gifts and diversity? I believe so: we live in a place unmatched in the diversity of nature, by our overflowing rich cultures and all their unique ways of celebrating life.
The parks we’ve created in over 20 years—"Soil & Soul" in Vladivostok, "Pearl of the Pacific" in San Diego, "Entre Corazon Y Mar" in Tijuana, "Salinlahi" in Puerto Princesa, "Stepping Stones to the Pacific" in Jeju Island, and "Pacific Birth" in Kaohsiung—are our small way of exploring an imaginative vision of a new consciousness waiting to be born.
If you doubt what I say, on a warm Sunday evening go sit on the beach under the golden cliffs of Torrey Pines, notice the rainbow of people, watch the surf roll slowly in and the sun dip into an indigo sea on its way to magic islands to wake up our friends in a world we call Asia. This is their backyard too. The Pacific, ocean of peace, is large enough to hold all our love and caring.
—James Hubbell, Founder and Creative Director, Pacific Rim Park
Risks and challenges
Building a park in 29 days would be considered a risk by most people. But we have achieved this goal successfully six times before. We know our process works! We have learned that before we ever break ground, the foundation for successful park is built through relationships—between the host city and our home city of San Diego. When both communities come together, lasting connections are made—connections that bring with them the strength and momentum gained every time we build park. More than a space, a Pacific Rim Park park is the community that emerges through the process of building it. If a park were to disappear, the family, friendships, and "peace" would remain. This is the beauty of the Pacific Rim Park concept and the transformative power of art.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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