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johnnydr87

Korean Gate to Welcome Visitors to Little Rock

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When I read Oklahoma City will be getting an Asian gate for the Asian district, I was a little jealous.

Well, we'll be getting something similar at least. It's not a gate to an Asian district, but to Little Rock.

It connected to the American Taekwando Association, which is based in Little Rock.

From the Arkansas Daily Blog:

Korean gate to welcome visitors to LR

korean.JPG

The Little Rock Bureau of Convention and Visitors announces that work has begun on a $1 million (yes $1 million) garden on the east side of the Statehouse Convention Center, a memorial to H.U. Lee, the Korean taekwondo master who located in Little Rock and brings thousands and thousands of taekwondo practitioners to LR for a convention each year. LRCVB pitched in $15,000 to start the work. Private money, mostly from taekwondo sources, is expected to pay for most of the work. From the news release:

The garden will include an elaborate South Korean-carved wooden and tile gate, approximately 27 feet wide and 20 feet tall, and a nine-foot tall fountain and pool. Construction on this new attraction should be completed by summer 2007. Plants in the garden will be representative of foliage native to Korea . ...

Most of the gate was hand-carved in South Korea , and it is being sent to Little Rock in five separate shipments. A team of South Korean artisans will arrive in Little Rock in mid-June to begin the 45-day job of erecting the gate on site.

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Apparently project was announced in June of 2005...

Here's the press release. I bolded what the Grand Master of the Taekwando assocation said of Little Rock. Alas, I have to say he's right. When you live around here, you learn to love it--it's character, nuances, history, burdens, and hopes-- even if you came from a very different place.

FOR RELEASE:

6/17/2005 Contact:

Angela England

Director of Destination Marketing & Communication

501-255-3300

[email protected]

Visitors Bureau To Raise Korean Martial Art Gate

Gate to Symbolize International Ties to City

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 17, 2005) – The international headquarters of the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) in Little Rock has become a gateway to the world of martial art. The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) and ATA officials will unveil at 4:30 additional plans to celebrate its long-time association with construction of the Songham Martial Art Gate, to be built on the grounds of the Little Rock Statehouse Convention Center Garden.

Gates, small buildings consisting of three doors and a tiled roof, are very common in the Korean culture and symbolize a ‘welcome’ to the site. Little Rock’s Songham Martial Art Gate was named as ‘martial art’ in order to encompass martial arts worldwide, not just the sport of taekwondo. The structure will be made in Korea and displayed next to the bust of ATA Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee, who founded the organization in 1969. A prominent feature of the garden landscaping surrounding the gate will be Arkansas pines, which first drew Lee’s attention to Little Rock as a reminder of the Korean landscape.

Little Rock’s Korean and international connections are visible throughout the city this week as up to thousands visitors are expected to attend the ATA World Championship Tournament scheduled through Sunday, June 19 at the Little Rock Statehouse Convention Center.

“The Songham Martial Art Gate will serve as a lasting reminder of the Korean culture that has become so important to our lives here in Little Rock,” said LRCVB Chairman Emeritus Barry Travis. “We are forever grateful to Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee for his vision of bringing taekwondo to our land of opportunity here in the capitol city.”

Sun C. Lee, widow of Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee, wants to emphasize to Little Rock residents and friends across Arkansas the importance of international ties to the city. “Arkansas was very special to my husband and is to our entire family,” explained Lee. “This gate is a symbol of our partnership with, and love of Little Rock.”

Formal dedication of the Songham Martial Art Gate will be held in June 2006 during the ATA World Championships to be held once again in Little Rock. ATA, internationally headquartered in Little Rock, has more than 350,000 members – adults and children – on five continents. The ATA World Championships has advanced so quickly in size and scope that it necessitated a move for its opening ceremonies to ALLTEL Arena in North Little Rock, paving the way for many more people to experience the sport of taekwondo. All other World Championship events will continue to be held at the Little Rock Statehouse Convention Center.

Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee founded the ATA in 1969 to provide students the highest quality martial arts instruction available in a safe and positive learning environment that people of all ages could enjoy. Lee died in October 2000. The first World Championship tournament was held in 1990.

The American Taekwondo Association (ATA) is an affiliate of the World Traditional Taekwondo Union (WTTU), also composed of the Songahm Taekwondo Federation and World Martial Arts. For more information about the tournament or the American Taekwondo Association, visit their Web site at www.ataonline.com or call Jenny Wolff at (501) 568-2821, ext. 2263.

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Interesting. I remember reading a little bit about Lee and the taekwondo events that take place in Little Rock a while back ago. Nice to see more being done to further this tie between both places.

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This is a great project, good for overall Downtown Diversity!!!

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This is a great project, good for overall Downtown Diversity!!!

I agree, it will help add to Little Rock's downtown mix. It needed some diversity.

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Nice Pic.

This one should be finished in a few months.

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Are they supposed to build some gardens around it or something?

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New photos of the gate.

dscf2962lq2.jpg

Where garden will be located.

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From Clinton Ave.

dscf2957gs1.jpg

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Man, I'm jealous, that is beautiful!!

I wish I had one in my city. :cry:

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Man, I'm jealous, that is beautiful!!

I wish I had one in my city. :cry:

It is nice but to me it looks out of place. I wish they would have taken one of the parking lots in the downtown area and turned it into a pocket park for the gate.

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It is nice but to me it looks out of place. I wish they would have taken one of the parking lots in the downtown area and turned it into a pocket park for the gate.

You share my sentiments. It's a cool gate, but I think the location was a result of poor planning. It looks lost next to the convention center.

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You share my sentiments. It's a cool gate, but I think the location was a result of poor planning. It looks lost next to the convention center.

If enough of the right people share your thoughts, perhaps the immediate surroundings could be redesigned to compliment the gate. I'd support that.

There is a connection between the convention center and the location of the gate. For the 1000s who attend the World Taekwondo Championships every year at the LR Convention center, the gate represents the achievements of the person who brought it all to little ole Little Rock, AR.

I like the location's high visibility and proximity to foot traffic. It prompts questions. Makes our downtown a little more eclectic.

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If enough of the right people share your thoughts, perhaps the immediate surroundings could be redesigned to compliment the gate. I'd support that.

There is a connection between the convention center and the location of the gate. For the 1000s who attend the World Taekwondo Championships every year at the LR Convention center, the gate represents the achievements of the person who brought it all to little ole Little Rock, AR.

I like the location's high visibility and proximity to foot traffic. It prompts questions. Makes our downtown a little more eclectic.

While I agree that the location looks out of place, the reason it was chosen as you stated is obvious. Mr Lee made the Little Rock Convention Center the center of the U.S. taekwondo universe and putting the gate there is not only important for recognizing what he accomplished and beautifying the city, but also as something for the hordes that go to the convention center for the ATA championships to recognize. In fact, in many ways that gate will probably have a lot to do with keeping the ATA coming to LR despite some disadvantages in doing so.

I am hoping when the landscaping is done (isn't there an oriental garden component to this?) that it will make it fit in a bit better with its surroundings.

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Are they planning on making a garden with this?

This gate looks extremly tacky, but if they put in a nice Korean Garden all around the gate, I think it could look decent.

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Are they planning on making a garden with this?

This gate looks extremly tacky, but if they put in a nice Korean Garden all around the gate, I think it could look decent.

They're supposed to.

It doens't fit. I think it would've looked nicer over at that pocket park over by the Broadway Bridge and City Hall that has a fountain and flowers there now. A nice oriential fence around it would've been striking.

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