Unveiling of 30-Foot “Scroll for Japan” Benefits Earthquake Relief; Painter Yoshimoto, Art Students League, and International Partners Collaborate

May 9, 2012


The Art Students League of New York, one of America’s premier art schools, will unveil on May 20 Baptism of Concrete Estuary, a 30-foot-long commemorative scroll by Jave Yoshimoto, painted in the Japanese style of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. 

The event will benefit Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief, specifically the Music & Art Without Borders program of the Japanese non-profit organization, The Recovery Assistance Center of Miyagi (Ganbaro Miyagi), and the Art Students League’s international scholarship program.

The Art Students League of New York, one of America’s premier art schools, will unveil Baptism of Concrete Estuary, a 30-foot-long scroll by Jave Yoshimoto, painted in the Japanese style of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. The event will benefit the Music & Art Without Borders program of the Japanese non-profit organization, The Recovery Assistance Center of Miyagi (Ganbaro Miyagi), and the League’s international scholarship program. 

The unveiling will take place May 20 at the Art Students League’s Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, 215 West 57th Street in New York City. 

A private preview and brunch (suggested donation $100) will be held from noon to 2:00 pm, followed by a public opening and reception from 2:00pm to 4:00 pm. Prints of the scroll in various formats will be available for purchase at prices ranging from $100 to $1,000.

The event is a partnership of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation, The Stewardship Report, the Arts Students League, Friends of the United Nations, the Stand Up for Peace Project and Dr. Judy Kuriansky, representing the United Nations accredited NGO, the International Association of Applied Psychology and its Global Kids Connect Project.

In describing the origin of the ten-month art project, Mr. Yoshimoto said, “To combat social amnesia in the internet age, I wanted to create a lasting memorial that would long honor the victims and survivors of the Tohoku earthquake. I wanted to honor the triumph of the human spirit over catastrophic tragedy.”

The scroll depicts the incredible devastation wrought by the earthquake and tsunami and the human tragedy and heroism of the time. Mr. Yoshimoto did much of the work on the scroll during several months of residency at the Art Students League’s Vytlacil Campus Artist-in-Residence program in Sparkill, New York.

“I am grateful that the League and the Vytlacil Artist-in-Residence program could serve as a vehicle for Jave Yoshimoto’s goal to create a work commemorating last year’s devastating earthquake,” says League Executive Director Ira Goldberg. “ With the advice of Vytlacil Campus Director, Gary L. Sussman, Jave was able to realize his goal.”

Eighty percent of the proceeds raised will go towards on-the-ground support of survivors in the area hit hardest by the March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami. “We are grateful and honored to be selected as the recipient of monies raised through this inspiring arts movement,” said Hideki Mogi, president of the Miyagi Fukkou Shien Center, which oversees the Recovery Assistance Center of Miyagi. 

“Jave’s art is a powerful example of using the arts to heal, that is totally synchronistic with the work that I have been doing for years around the world with survivors of natural disaster,” said Judy Kuriansky, Ph.D., noted international psychologist, author, journalist and global humanitarian actively working with tsunami/earthquake survivors in Japan and worldwide. Dr. Kuriansky will give the keynote address at the event.

Dr. Kuriansky and her partners in the Global Kids Connect Project recently returned from a mission in the disaster zone in Japan on the anniversary of the 3/11 tsunami/earthquake. Partnering with the Recovery Assistance Center in Miyagi, her team made presentations of music, drawings and healing exercises at several schools and resettlement housing. Children drew messages of hope on cranes that will go to children in earthquake-stricken Haiti. “Connecting children recovering from trauma lets them know that they are not alone and that others around the world care,” said Dr. Kuriansky. 

International composer Russell Daisey, a partner in Kuriansky’s Japan and Haiti missions, will perform original anthems written specifically for Japan.

James Luce, founder of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation and The Stewardship Report, knows how brutal a wave can be, having been on the ground following the Tsunami of 2004 in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Luce said, “Having lived in Tohoku, northern Japan in college, my heart ached when I saw footage of the March 2011 destruction. Believing in the power of art and particularly in awe of Japanese art, I believe that the Scroll for Japan Project through the Arts Students League offers an incredible opportunity to give back through art in Miyagi.”

About Jave Yoshimoto 

Artist Jave Yoshimoto has had exhibitions in California, Nebraska, Vermont, Michigan, Illinois and New York. He received his MFA from Syracuse University, MA in Art therapy from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his BA in University of California Santa Barbara. His residency experiences include Vermont Studio Center, Art Farm and the Art Students League of New York Vytlacil campus.

Media Contact: Ken Park, 212-247-4510 extension 165

kpark@artstudentsleague.org

Stand Up For Peace & IAPP: March Mission To Japan 

Workshops & Benefit Concerts For The Recovery Assistance Center of Miyagi 

March 11, 2012 

American psychologist and famous Japanese and American musicians travel to the earthquake-affected areas in northern Japan to do workshops and concerts for survivors, especially children, on the day after the one year anniversary of the 3.11 disaster.

While singers, sports stars, and first responders flooded to northern Japan to help right after the natural disaster hit, help dwindled over the ensuing months.

“Over time, helpers have forgotten, but the residents, and especially the children, are suffering now as ever before,” Go Osaka of The Recovery Assistance Center of Miyagi, told international psychologist and UN NGO representative to the United Nations, Dr Judy Kuriansky, when they met earlier this week in New York at the United Nations concert in honor of the one-year anniversary of the Japan tragedy. 

“Now we want to pay attention to the emotional needs of people,” Osaka told the noted psychologist.

Kuriansky, an expert in trauma, offered to help. That night, a plan was made for her to help design recovery workshops for the children of the affected areas.

The project will be a partnership of The Recovery Center of Miyagi and Kuriansky’s NGO accredited at the United Nations, the International Association of Applied Psychology.  Another partner is the Stand Up For Peace Project that she co-founded with internationally acclaimed New York composer Russell Daisey.

The Recovery Assistance Center of Miyagi plans to buy abandoned school houses and set up after-school programs for the children.  The programs will offer varied services.  Besides psychological help, famous musicians will give concerts and teach the children music

Japanese musicians have already visited the areas, but such visits have subsided in the months after the disaster.

Kuriansky has enlisted the participation of two of her good friends who are famous Japanese musical artists, world-class operatic soprano Tomoko Shibata and internationally acclaimed pop star Shinji Harada.  Both have performed concerts in the Sendai area, but are happy to do more, and to work with the two new partnered NGOs.

“I feel pain and sadness over what happened in my country on 3/11,” says Shibata. “And I also feel the pain of America after 9/11 since I was in New York and saw the second plane hit the tower. I know that music has the power to heal, for myself, for all the people in Miyagi and all those who suffer.”

Harada feels similarly.  He has been devoted to performing Global Harmony peace charity concerts for years worldwide, including at the United Nations, has a project helping impoverished children in the Phillippines, and has written children's songs and a school anthem specifically for the children of Japan after this disaster.  Born in Hiroshima, he knows the pain of loss and devastation in his hometown from what happened in WWII.  

“The time has come to show how “kindness” is crucial to saving the world,” says Harada, and music has always been one way to send out positive messages.” 

On the night of the 3/11 anniversary, Shibata produced and performed in a memorial concert, the fourth in her series “Songs for Hope,” at the prestigious Yamaha Hall in Tokyo.  Kuriansky and Daisey flew to Tokyo from New York to be present at the concert and introduce their healing anthem “Towers of Light’ which they co-wrote after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, and which Shibata recently translated into Japanese. The song debuted on the 3/11 night. 

For the two days in Sendai, Kuriansky organized a short workshop to teach children techniques to reduce stress, build energy and personal strength, and regain hope.  These techniques are part of her Global Kids Connect Project, which connects children of trauma worldwide.  The Japanese children will draw on cranes or hearts with messages of hope that Kuriansky will bring to Haiti, where children have also been traumatized by an earthquake.  The Haiti children will then draw messages that will be returned to their Japanese peers.

“This creates a circle of caring and support that psychological principles prove helps people, and especially children, heal in the face of trauma,’ says Kuriansky.

Kuriansky has applied these techniques in her psychological first aide interventions and training of local supporters in other parts of the world, including after the Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in the USA, and earthquakes in Haiti and in China.

“I know how well children respond to these experiences that are not only helpful but also fun, so children feel more safe and that they are not alone,” says Kuriansky, who has taught her students these techniques in classes at Columbia University Teachers College.

“As an international psychologist, it is my honor to teach the Japanese children techniques I have taught children all over the world, after many disasters that can make them feel stronger and also connected to other children around the world who care about them,” Kuriansky adds. 

The centers in Miyagi will offer music, arts, drawing, theatre, and also sports training.  Kuriansky has already enlisted friends who will send sports stars to meet with and teach, the children.

“The project warms my heart, thinking of bringing so many people from many fields of expertise to continue with supporting the people in Miyagi,” says Kuriansky.

The other important aspect is to create sustainability.  “People need to know you will continue the programs, and not just ‘helicopter’ in and leave.  You have to set up programs that last,” she says.  “That’s why we will have many volunteers in these fields and also we will train the local people, like teachers, to continue the work.”

CONTACTS:

In Miyagi, Go Osaka, 080 3752 3659  osaka@ganbaro-miyagi.com

Kuriansky in Tokyo in Tokyo until March 15: mobile phone 080 4184  1789 DrJudyK@aol.com  In New York after Match 14, (917) 224-5839. 

In Tokyo, Ms. Tomoko Shibata   shibata@tspi.co.jp  090 2540 1575