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Morning Star Korean Cultural Center

Tucked away in the Ash Way neighborhood of Lynnwood...

...students of all ages gather regularly to practice the same way janggo and gayageum performers have for 1500 years.

When you cross over the ‘hanok’ threshold of Morning Star, you’ll find an open space edged with drums, costumes, and other treasures from the Land of Morning Calm. An antique cabinet for medicinal teas, a immense wardrobe with intricately hand-carved mother of pearl inlay, and silk-stringed gayageums resting upright along the walls.

But first, you must take off your shoes.


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When pastor Jiyeon Cheh immigrated with his family to the United States in the early 1980s, it wasn’t his mission to open an arts center. It was his wife’s love of dance and his desire to remain connected to his native Korea that inspired him to open a space dedicated to sharing the creative traditions of his homeland. That was in 1985.

What began as dance lessons for local students expanded to become a fixture in Lynnwood’s Korean community, offering a variety of classes to people of all ages eager to share traditional Korean performance arts with a global audience.

Now it's Jiyeon’s daughter, Sinae, at the helm of the arts non-profit following in her parents’ footsteps as the choreographer, spokesperson, and producer of all of the center’s programs.

Morning Star students practice year-round, and their mission of intercultural exchange takes them across the globe. Since the center first opened its doors, students have performed Korean dance, gayageum, janggo, and theater to audiences all over the United States and in more than 25 countries.


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Their most popular program is the annual Narae or "Wings" performance, which has had the honor of showing at Meany Hall at the University of Washington four times. The show depicts a traditional Korean folktale with themes of family, love, sacrifice, and perseverance.

Many of the people who keep the show running are volunteers. Their dedication keeps the doors of the center open.

Sinae says, “there have been challenges over the years, but we’re here, and we’re not going anywhere.”

But it’s their newest undertaking, a renovated library for 15,000 donated books that will give the community more ongoing access to the center.

Anyone is welcome to participate in their weekly or biweekly classes for boys and girls, small children, young adults, and adults.

If you aren’t keen on study, but still want to experience the immersive celebration of Korean culture that Morning Star is known for, students perform year-round at public and private events. Just call and ask Sinae for more information.

Morning Star Korean Cultural Center

15206 18th Ave W
Lynnwood, WA 98087
(425) 743-1004

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Contributor
Shari Shephard