New Spaceworks mural evokes the memory of old Japan town


Near the corner of South 13th and Market streets, formerly the center of old Japan town, there is a recently completed mural by Nori Kimura, a Spaceworks Tacoma Artscapes participant. Called “Welcome to Tacoma and the Memory of Old Japan Town,” the painting covers the surface of a concrete, 1970s-era information kiosk that has become one of the surfaces that Spaceworks farms out for local artists to cover in a mural (in this case, something of a mini-mural.)

The mural is a temporary installation of a 360-degree scene which promotes the City of Tacoma on the street side, and Tacoma’s cultural diversity through a Japanese Children’s Day scene on the pedestrian side.

Kimura is a local Hilltop artist who creates original greeting cards as well as murals. His subjects are always focused on loving and caring for children, families, communities and nature.

The downtown mural is located near what was the center of old Japan town until May 1942, when the Japanese-Americans had to leave Tacoma to go to the internment camps under the terms of Executive Order 9066.

Kimura believes that Tacoma needs unity by loving and caring, inspired visual arts on the streets that celebrates our city and commemorates the history of old Japan town. He wants the installation to bring smiles to passersby, promote pride in Tacoma, and bring children and families closer to public art.

A number of student painters helped on the mural: Satoko N. Kimura, Hanna M. Grinstead, Gretchen E. Bonea, Taytum L. Magill, Aubriana Currah, Jacob L. Jones and Hayley R. Byers.

Spaceworks Tacoma makes space, training and technical assistance available to artists, creative entrepreneurs, organizations and community groups who are transforming Tacoma into an economically stronger and more culturally vibrant city.

Spaceworks Tacoma is a joint initiative of the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber designed to activate empty storefronts and vacant spaces in Tacoma with art and creative enterprise.

Property owners donate their vacant spaces and program participants transform them into dynamic points of interest with creative businesses, site-specific art installations, special short-term projects and pop-up events.

For more on Spaceworks, visit

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