'Friend Ship Box' returns to Tacoma sporting new artwork by Korean kids

A hand-painted cargo container is back from its voyage to Busan, Korea, and on display in Tacoma.The 40-foot-long “Friend Ship Box” features artwork painted by Korean and Pierce County children.

The newest design, painted by 20 Korean kids, incorporates such maritime and cultural symbols as the Museum of Glass, Statue of Liberty and children in traditional Korean dress. It complements the other side painted this summer by about 100 Pierce County kids under the direction of local artist Rachael Dotson.

The public is invited to see the colorful container until Dec. 21 at the Port of Tacoma’s Fabulich Center, at 3600 Port of Tacoma Rd. The Friend Ship Box celebrates the 10th anniversary of Washington United Terminals, the Hyundai Merchant Marine-owned terminal at the Port of Tacoma.

Korea is one of the Port of Tacoma’s top trading partners, with more than $3 billion in goods crossing port docks. Last year, the Port exported $1.3 billion in goods to Korea, including cereals, meat products, wood products, chemicals, and iron and steel. Korea is the fifth largest export market for U.S. farm products, valued at $5.6 billion in 2008. The United States is the top supplier to Korea of many farm products including almonds, fresh cherries, soybeans, corn and wheat.