Published in the Bay State Banner, September 28, 2017
Photo by Karen Morales
The Fields Corner neighborhood of Dorchester has one of the largest concentrations of Vietnamese-Americans in Boston. A diverse group of local artists and neighbors set out recently to increase the visibility of this vibrant community with a mural outside of Pho Hoa Restaurant.
Ngoc-Tran Vu is a Dorchester native, artist and community organizer heading the mural project. More public and inclusive art in Dorchester has always been something for which Vu strived, but a concrete plan arose when she met Tam Le, another artist and local entrepreneur.
The Le family owns Pho Hoa and Le himself is the owner of Reign Drink Lab, a homemade boba tea, smoothies, and coffee shop behind the restaurant on Dorchester Avenue. “‘My family’s building,’ he said, ‘think of it as your canvas,’” said Vu about her conversation with Le.
“I thought about how I wanted to collaborate with the community and how I could bring in young people, as well as the older residents,” she said, adding, “As a first generation Vietnamese-American, I saw myself in an unique position to connect the past, present and future, and work with others.”