‘The heart of Lynnwood is here’: New sculpture celebrates city’s love, diversity

The newly unveiled “I Love Lynnwood” sign by B.K. Choi in front of the Lynnwood Convention Center.

The City of Lynnwood marked Valentine’s Day 2022 by unveiling a new sign celebrating love and equity in the city.

City leaders and community members gathered Monday morning to celebrate the city’s new “I Love Lynnwood” sculpture located at the corner of 196th Street Southwest and 36th Avenue West in front of the Lynnwood Convention Center. 

The 12-foot, heart-shaped sculpture, created by local artist B.K. Choi, is covered in jogakbo, a traditional Korean wrapping cloth. Choi’s jogakbo has pink, blue, green and yellow in honor of Lynnwood’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission decals with the message “All Are Welcome.”

Choi was chosen from 26 applicants because the artwork tells an inclusive story about his Korean-American heritage. Choi – who was raised in Lynnwood after his family moved from Seoul, South Korea – explained that each piece of cloth is a different shape and color and comes together to form the sculpture, much like the members of Lynnwood’s community.

“My hope is that Lynnwood continues to be the kind of place that welcomes new arrivals and creates not only the physical space but also the economic, social and emotional space for them to thrive,” he said.

Sculpture artist B.K. Choi (left) and Lynnwood historian Betty Gaeng (right).

Choi said he researched the history of Lynnwood while considering a theme for the project and consulted with Betty Lou Gaeng, Lynnwood’s official historian. Gaeng – who now lives in Alaska to be closer to family – also attended the unveiling. 

The project is a joint effort between the city and the Lynnwood Public Facilities District, which runs the convention center. The decision to place the sculpture in front of the convention center was made after members of the facilities district approached city staff about providing a barrier between the road and the building to avoid traffic collisions.

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell praised the new sculpture, which she said will be a symbol of love and inclusiveness in the city.

(Left to right) Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell with Lynnwood City Councilmembers Julieta Altamirano-Crosby and Shannon Sessions.

“It’s so easy to look at people’s differences and jump to judgment and hate but if we really look across the aisle…and we see the diversity that is in this room, we can do nothing other than love as human beings,” she said.

The installation was funded in part by the Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Foundation, which received a $500,000 donation from the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Foundation. Elizabeth “Bette” Ruth Wallace was a former Lynnwood resident who left money in a trust to be donated to various charities after her death in 2016. The foundation named in her honor has also financed the installation of a playground at Heritage Park, behind the Wicker Building and renovations to the park’s water tower.

Elizbeth’s niece, Cheri Ryan, serves as her trustee. During the unveiling ceremony, Ryan referred to an article published in The Seattle Times in 1997 that said Lynnwood had no history and no heart. Ryan – who grew up in Lynnwood – said that’s not true.

“We have a rich, rich history and there’s a lot of heart in this community,” she said. “We’ve seen that heart through the years. Today we are ecstatic that the heart of Lynnwood is here.”

See more photos of the new sculpture in Lynnwood Today’s previous story.

–Story and photos by Cody Sexton

  1. I appreciate the sentiment, it is beautiful but REALLY think it takes away from the authentic beauty of the convention center.

    Maybe better placed by the new jail. ♡

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