Kabuki performed in Portland Japanese Garden in 2017. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

The Global Center for Culture and Art explores the interrelationship of humanity and nature through the lens of Japanese arts and culture. An ever-expanding array of Japanese visual and performing arts and cultural practices from sumi-e to chado, urushi to bonsai, and kabuki to ikebana, are presented in ways intended to reduce the need for language, translation, prior knowledge, or instruction.

Carolyn Alter, during a bonsai demonstration. Photo by Peter Friedman

Taking a more inclusive approach, the means of presentation are intended to spur curiosity about the internal mind-set intrinsic to these arts and practices plus external conversations about the personal meaning each audience member is finding in these arts and cultural practices amidst the beauty and calming influence of Portland Japanese Garden’s eight gardens, or wherever in the world the learner may be. It is the heart that is opened to the possibility of a new understanding of a previously unknown form of human endeavor, the journey that is begun towards appreciation of a heretofore unknown human creation, and the conversations that ensues between people which is the purpose of the Center.

Tea ceremony demonstration. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

Specific programs of the Center include art exhibitions, our Artist-in-Residence program, traveling exhibition programs, the Japan Eats Culinary Series, chado, ikebana, bonsai, shodo, haiku classes and demonstrations, Japanese craft workshops, performing arts programs, Go-Sekku festivals, the commission of new works across a range of mediums and genres, and the presentation of rarely available events outside Japan such as Yabusame and Sumo. Bringing the art and culture of Japan to the world, while supporting and providing opportunity for a myriad of artists and practitioners to share their gifts with audiences outside of Japan.

Artist-in-Residence Program

Japan Institute Artist-in-Residence Rui Sasaki standing in her exhibition, Subtle Intimacy: Here and There in the Pavilion Gallery. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

In 2021, Japan Institute named Rui Sasaki its first Artist-in-Residence. Sasaki’s artist-in-residence and 2023 art exhibition, Subtle Intimacy: Here and There, is an example of where Japan Institute’s program (the artist-in-residency) brings a unique experience to Portland Japanese Garden (art exhibition). We look forward to being able to share additional ways that Japan Institute advances our mission of Inspiring Harmony & Peace at Portland Japanese Garden!

Photo Slideshow of Artist-in-Residence Rui Sasaki preparing for Subtle Intimacy: Here and There