September 1, 2013
Message from the President
Some of you may remember the photo that ran in the Rafu Shimpo taken just a few days before my official start date at the JACCC, the first week of March. It was a great article and photo, but many people commented how bare the trees looked in the background.
In these first 6 months at the JACCC, I have learned so much. I recently met David Brown, President of the Descanso Gardens, at the Sogetsu Live event that was held at the Aratani Theatre. He said when he moved from the Art Center to Descanso, five years ago, he was both a leader and a student of the gardens. I have the same sentiment. I lead the organization with a clear vision for the future, but also find myself as a life long student. I have learned so much in just these last 6 months. My first week, I learned that if you bring a great Hawaiian entertainer like Willie K. who can play seven different genres of music in one performance, the crowd will give three standing ovations! I have learned from many seasoned community leaders, artists, academics, and experts in that have shared their sage advice on how to guide the organization in this next phase of its life cycle. I have learned about the values that the Japanese Garden is built upon, the 50 principals of Sogetsu Ikebana, flower arranging and that in Japan, there are not four seasons in the year, but 72. As a staff, we have been exploring together, what great customer service looks like when you come from a culture that observes the world in such subtleties and how we deliver services based on these expectations and attention to detail.
In the last six months, the JACCC has launched a new concert series, Live at the Aratani!, attracted a multi-ethnic, multi-generational audience of over 1,000 people for our four-day event, Remembering Sadako: Folding for Peace which culminated in a Concert for Peace featuring Jackson Browne, and built a new cultural space on the ground floor of the Center Building which provided a new setting for Nisei Week tea ceremonies and calligraphy exhibition and demonstrations complemented by incredible Ikebana arrangements.
I share these personal explorations with you because I hope that you too will come to the JACCC to discover new cultural journeys. When we explore culture and participate in art experiences, whether we belong to that particular community or not, we learn a little bit more about ourselves.
The tree between the Aratani Theatre and the Center building is now flourishing and as we begin preparing for the transition from summer to fall, we are also preparing for exciting new programming including ukulele classes, a holiday performance by Hiroshima, and a new season of the Live at the Aratani! Concert series.