Last weekend, guests of GYOPO gathered at Helen J Gallery, the beloved Los Angeles art space, to celebrate Chuseok—the Korean harvest festival—presented by CJ. The Los Angeles-based collective, now in its seventh year, amplifies the creative work of members of the Korean diaspora, marking its accomplishments each fall with an annual benefit. There were a number of worthy causes for celebration this year—in addition to the fall holiday and the strength and efforts of GYOPO, friends of the organization gathered to fête the work of the organization’s 2023 honoree, actor Randall Park.
Upon entering the space, attendees were met with a beautiful Charye table, representing ancestral legacies and the bounty of the natural world, and posed for portraits by photographer Daniel J. Kim. The event began with remarks from key members of the GYOPO community, including Park himself. The event highlighted GYOPO’s presence in Los Angeles, along with the breadth of Park’s accomplishments. Afterward, guests communed over a formidable brunch spread courtesy of Bao Dim Sum House and chef Jo Ann Kim, complemented with cocktails from Kikori Whiskey and Halmi, along with Dokkaebier and Jumo. The meal was followed by kite-making sessions hosted by Drawwing Cabinet.
The event also doubled as an opportunity to unveil GYOPO's 2023 artist collaboration. Each fall, GYOPO collaborates with a diasporic Korean artist to release a limited-edition artwork, with proceeds helping to ensure that all of the collective's programs remain free to the public. Do Ho Suh, this year's featured artist, contributed a lithograph print, Family Cuddle, 2023, to the cause.
The reverence for GYOPO was palpable—invited speakers remarked on the collective’s indispensability in documenting, advocating, and providing space for the creative potential of LA-based members of the Korean diaspora. As author, poet, and 2022 GYOPO Chuseok Benefit Honoree Cathy Park Hong put it—the world is bearing witness to a “GYOPO renaissance.”
At the event, Tate Modern Curator Christine Y. Kim, who is a Steering Committee and Board Member of GYOPO, announced that the organization would be the recipient of a $600,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to amplify its programming and mission. On the importance of that mission today, Park said, “It is a time when love, community, and creative expression is so very important, and that’s what GYOPO is all about.”
The actor's contributions to the arts remained a consistent throughline during the celebration. “Park’s encouraging and flexible outlook to continuously create, embrace, and share our work and focus on the joy and discovery of the process rather than outcomes. This expansive and thoughtful perspective resonates with GYOPO’s vision and coalition building,” Kim remarked.
The day was the perfect encapsulation of GYOPO’s ethos—gathering in celebration of the arts. Offering a slate of vital programming—film screenings, readings, panel discussions, visa workshops for artists, and more—GYOPO only continues to grow.