Carrie Rengers

Symbolic Arts art studio and gallery to open in Delano

Artist Emily Miller Yamanaka, left, sits with Kim Ho and her dog, Franky. Ho is opening an art gallery called Symbolic Arts at 553 W. Douglas next to her Symbolic Tattoo in Delano. Miller will teach classes there and work on her own art in the space.
Artist Emily Miller Yamanaka, left, sits with Kim Ho and her dog, Franky. Ho is opening an art gallery called Symbolic Arts at 553 W. Douglas next to her Symbolic Tattoo in Delano. Miller will teach classes there and work on her own art in the space. The Wichita Eagle

Whether it’s for religious reasons or out of sheer exhaustion, some people regard Sunday as a day of rest.

Not Kim Ho. That’s even though she owns four businesses and probably could use a day off.

Instead, that’s her one free day – if you don’t count evenings – that she can work on new businesses.

The owner of Symbolic Tattoo, Lux Nail Studio, Luckys Vape Lounge and Luckys Vape Emporium is working on yet another business.

“This is number five,” Ho says of Symbolic Arts.

The art studio and gallery will be in 1,200 square feet at 553 W. Douglas near the roundabout in Delano, which is next to her tattoo shop.

“It just … makes sense with kind of everything we do,” Ho says. “We’re really into the whole are scene being down in Delano.”

She lets artists hang their work for free at her Delano businesses.

“We opened up our businesses down there to display their work for Final Friday,” Ho says.

Emily Miller Yamanaka is one of the artists, and then she began working the front desk at Symbolic Tattoo.

Now, Yamanaka will rent gallery space from Ho, and Ho will hire her to teach art classes in the space.

The studio is under construction now and will open by Nov. 1. There will be a door between it and Symbolic Tattoo.

As much as Ho says she is interested in Delano, she says she’s not there a lot.

“I only go down there if I need to yell at somebody,” she says of the tattoo shop. “When they see me, they’re just like, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ 

Ho spends most of her time at Lux Nail Studio in the Village at Greenwich at 21st and Greenwich, which she opened in October 2007 at age 23.

“I live here,” she says. “This is my home.”

When Ho opened the salon, the area was still so undeveloped that there was a small farmhouse next to her.

A few businesses came and went nearby, including a Chili’s across the street, which was one of her only neighbors for a while. When the restaurant left, Ho says she felt lonely.

“I’ve got to give her all kinds of props for sticking it out and having the foresight to stay there,” says Steve Wheeler, the Village at Greenwich developer.

“There was a time in ’08 when things were looking kind of spooky.”

All that has changed, of course, and the area is booming.

“Now I can’t even find a parking space half the time,” Ho says.

While she’s happy for the company, Ho says – perhaps only half jokingly – that she ought to have some sort of VIP parking card for having been the first one there.

“I feel like I should have seniority.”

Ho is having Lux’s 10th anniversary celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 14 with giveaways, free margaritas and tacos that Tacos Beto will cook on site.

While Ho often considers starting other businesses, she says she’s not thinking of opening a salon in Delano.

“Delano’s a really different crowd,” she says. “It’s just a different scene down there.”

Instead, Ho wants to open a laundromat

“That’s always been a dream of mine. Is that weird?”

It’s not if you hear her reason.

Ho has a 14-year-old son, Piyo, who has seizures. She says he won’t be able to drive and likely won’t be able to work for someone else because of the time he’ll need to take off. Ho says she thinks a mother-son entrepreneurial project such as a laundromat is the way to go.

“I’m trying to get him into it, too,” she says.

The two made bath fizzies to give to his teachers once, and word got around, and Piyo began getting orders for more. He now sells them at area markets and events.

“He’s slowly going to come around to this whole running-his-own-business thing one day,” Ho says.

“We’ve been actually kind of shopping a little bit for space,” she says. “That’s still on my bucket list.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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