In an effort to keep interest in traditional Japanese art forms alive, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center has opened a Japanese Cultural Room for classes, lectures, demonstrations and exhibits.
The fifth-floor room includes a Japanese tea room constructed of bamboo, as well as enough space for classes, group gatherings and displays. Japanese-style sliding shoji windows allow muted sunlight to filter into the room.
The 1,200-square-foot space, once an office, provides a more intimate environment than the center's 4,000-square-foot ground-floor art gallery, said Robert Hori, the center's gallery director.
Officials decided to dedicate a room to cultural traditions such as tea ceremonies, flower arrangement and calligraphy because many of the center's visitors are disappointed to find mostly contemporary art displayed in the lobby gallery, Hori said.
Many Japanese cultural groups fear Japanese Americans' interest in traditional art is dying, Hori said, and the number of local instructors in the old arts shrinks as they age or retire.
The cultural room's goal is to revive interest in the arts as well as introduce new audiences to them, Hori said.
The Japan Calligraphy Center, an organization initiated last year for calligraphy practitioners, will be using the room, Hori said.
In celebration of the inception of the calligraphy center and the opening of the cultural room, a calligraphy group in Nagoya, Japan, sent 100 original works for display and donated 30 brush sets.
In June, a series of lectures by various art experts will be conducted in the cultural room. Initially, the room may only be open when classes are scheduled but center officials hope to also set public viewing hours for exhibits.
Information: (213) 628-2725.