Friday, March 22, 2013 marked a monumental day as the Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC) broke ground to install the first pair of Kinarra Lamp Post Monuments on Hollywood and Hobart Blvds. The almost five foot tall statutes erected to a 17 foot tall lamp post that arrived in Los Angeles on March 5th represent the latest effort by Thai CDC to help boost cultural tourism and consequently help provide additional momentum in the effort to make the world’s only Thai Town a signature destination spot in Los Angeles.
Then on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, the Kinarra Lamp Post Monuments made their permanent home in Thai Town. The six hour long process involved mounting the posts onto the concrete mounts then attaching the Kinarra onto the pedestal base where the final statues total combined height stands at 17 feet tall.
The $30,000 pair of statues represent the coordinated efforts between Thai CDC and the Royal Thai Consulate General who in their generosity provided funding for the statues as well as coordinated the transportation from Thailand. The gift from the Royal Thai Consulate General signifies the bond that Bangkok shares with Los Angeles (Southern California is home to the largest population of Thais outside of Thailand). The long-term vision of this project is to connect the Apsonsis, which stand guard at the beginning and end of Thai Town much like the dragons in
Chinatown, with signature lamp posts that highlight Thai Town.
The project involved an approval process from various city government entities. They include: the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission, Department of Cultural Affairs, Public Works Department Bureau of Engineering and Bureau of Street Lighting, Urban Forestry Department and Department of Transportation. The effort included coordinating and obtaining the necessary permits and approvals among the various government agencies which can be a lengthy and complex task. Thai CDC was able to obtain the approval needed in a relatively short amount of time due to the support from local city officials who recognize the benefit of the beautification process as well as the urgency towards erecting the lamp posts in time for the official unveiling of the symbols of unity between Bangkok and Los Angeles on Thai New Year’s Day Songkran Festival, April 7th.
The Kinarra were being stored in South Gate where the posts were fabricated. The figures themselves were created at Siam Taksin Manufacturing which is located just outside of Bangkok.
On April 7th, 2013, the Thai community celebrated its Thai New Year’s Day Songkran Festival in Thai Town. Thai CDC invited many dignitaries to commemorate the unveiling of the Kinnara Lamp Post Monuments. Among the dignitaries were Congressman Adam Schiff, Senator Leland Yee, Board of Equalization Vice Chair Michelle Steel, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Sherriff Leroy Baca, Councilman Eric Garcetti, Councilman Tom La Bonge, Public Works Commissioner Steve Nutter, and Former LA City Public Works Commissioner John Choi. At 1:30 pm, the dignitaries offered their commendations during the program. The Thai Ambassador, Chaiyong Satjipanon, then presented the Kinnaras as a gift to the City of Los Angeles from Thailand as a symbol of their enduring friendship. After the program, the Thai Kinnara dancer escorted all of the dignitaries off the stage and led them to the unveiling site where the Kinnara Lamp Post Monument stood. The dignitaries then pulled the ribbon to unveil the Golden Kinnaras. The media captured the auspicious moment and the program ended with two Kinnaras lighting up Thai Town.