Target Free Family Saturday is right around the corner!

This is Evan.

Look!  Evan has a new wooden harmonica and cardboard guitar!

Evan makes noise.  Um, I mean, Evan makes music.

Don’t you want to be noisy… um, I mean, musical just like Evan?

Good news!  You can!  Come on down to the Museum this Saturday for our March Target Free Family Saturday. (March 9th).  We’re ready to celebrate music with fun performances and lots of opportunities to make some noise!  On the crafty side of things we’ll be making harmonicas and stringed instruments just like Evan’s.

There will be a drum circle for you to join and performances by the Turath Ensemble, who will perform traditional Middle Eastern music and drumming.  A family day favorite, TAIKOPROJECT will perform as well.  We’re all set for a JANM jam so come join us.

On top of all this musical excitement, we are also so excited to welcome our friend Sonya from the Arab American National Museum (AANM) in Dearborn, Michigan.  One of our current exhibitions, Patriots and Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to our Country comes to us from AANM.  Sonya will be leading tours of the exhibition throughout the day with a special talk at 1:30.

Hope to see you!

Special thanks to Evan for such a dynamic demonstration of what fun we will have on Saturday.  He deserves an award for being a good sport.

Giant Robot Artists’ Entourage

Giant Robot Biennale 3 closed this past Sunday but not without some cool happenings.  As part of what we called Giant Robot Artists’ Entourage, some of the GRB3 artists came to teach their techniques and share a bit about their art making process.

Eric Nakamura, Albert Reyes, Saelee Oh, and Rob Sato, were super-generous with their creativity and led several great art making workshops and discussions.  On Saturday we concluded the GR Entourage program with a watercolor workshop by Rob Sato.

Rob Sato demonstrating a watercolor masking technique

 

In addition to the public workshops, a major part of Giant Robot Artists’ Entourage was a series of workshops for high school students.  The result was a display of work that was produced during the workshops AND as an added bonus, last Friday a group of students from our neighbors at Mendez Learning Center came by for a visit!  This great group of people included two of the Entourage participants who helped lead their teachers and fellow students through the GRB3 exhibition and the display of their work.  It was the perfect way to continue the learning and conversation.

Big thanks to all the artists who shared with us and to the students and teachers from Mendez Learning Center and The Los Angeles School of Global Studies.  We had a great time with you all!

Support for the Giant Robot Entourage program is provided by the National Endowment of the Arts.

Eric Nakamura and students viewing the custom figures in the Project Remix show
After going through the galleries with Eric, students had a chance to customize their own Big Boss Robot.

 

Looking at Saelee Oh's work in the galleries with Saelee
Saelee Oh demonstrating her cutout process

 

Albert Reyes teaching an image transfer technique

 

Students in the galleries discuss Ako Castuera's work.

 

Display of student artwork created during workshops with Eric Nakamura, Saelee Oh, and Albert Reyes.

Many thanks to Richard Murakami and Gary Ono for taking photographs to document the workshops!

 

 

‘Tis the season to come on down to JANM for our last Target Free Family Saturday of 2012!

Phew!  It’s been a busy year full of family fun and we’re ending 2012 with festive holiday performances and activities this Saturday, December 8th.  Hope you’re ready to join us.

For our craft activities we’ll be making garland, wintery scenes, and of course our friend Ruthie will be ready to fold origami with you all.

There will be cookies, a photo booth, storytelling, and more!  Take a look at the full program for the day here.

As I get materials ready for Saturday, I look at the shelves of our supply closet and see traces of all the various activities we’ve done over the past few years.  Besides realizing that it’s probably time to do a big clean-up job in here (yikes!), I am also reminded of all the fantastic creativity we’ve seen from JANM’s family day visitors.  Pieces of cardboard, bits of yarn, and piles of wiggly eyes have been transformed into some amazing and unique robots, masks, puppets, bags… the list goes on and on!

You are all wonderful and you keep us inspired and excited about what we do here at JANM!  Thank you to all who have joined us for Target Free Family Saturdays.  We hope to see you this coming Saturday and next year for Oshogatsu and another year of family day fun!

Join us for Target Free Family Saturday!

Our next Target Free Family Saturday is just around the corner!  We hope to see all our friends on Saturday, July 14th for a day filled with activities and crafts.  Our theme is Faces and Places so we will be exploring adventure and travel with a full schedule of programming.

Here’s a sneak peak at our craft activities for the day.  Using pieces of fabric,  customize a bag to take with you when you’re on the go.

You’ll also have a chance to decorate a travel journal so you’ll have a place to capture fun memories by writing and drawing about your summertime adventures.

Hope to see you there!

Fighting for Democracy is in Michigan!

Whew!  I can’t believe it’s already been a week since I was in Michigan celebrating the opening of our exhibition Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We the People?” at the Arab American National Museum Not only did the Great Lakes State welcome me with surprisingly warm weather (a very important detail for this Southern Californian) but, the warm welcome and generous hospitality from the fantastic staff at the AANM made it a great trip. 

It’s always interesting to see this exhibit installed in the various cities to which it’s traveled.  Whether it is displayed in Philadelphia where the Constitution was signed, steps away from the actual Constitution on the National Mall, or in Hawai‘i where we joined Domingo Los Baños (one of the individuals featured in the exhibit) in his home state, each place adds different meaning and significance to the exhibit.  The Arab American National Museum is the 8th stop on Fighting for Democracy’s tour and it is an institution that we, at JANM feel a special connection with.  Not only do we share the commonality of being culturally specific museums that promote the appreciation of our country’s diversity; but, we also have common histories and stories that are particularly important to share as we consider parallels between the Japanese American World War II experience and the treatment of Arab Americans following the events of September 11, 2001.

What is great about Fighting for Democracy traveling to AANM right now is that is goes along so well with their current exhibition Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to our Country.  Linking the past to the present, both exhibitions focus on individual personal stories as a way to think about broader stories and the bigger picture.  I think that’s a great way to make meaning.        

Many thanks to the wonderful people at the Arab American National Museum for being so welcoming and for working so hard to get the exhibition up.  If you’re in the area, be sure to go see our friends in Dearborn.  It is a great museum and definitely worth a stop!

Fighting for Democracy exhibition’s last days in Philadelphia

Alright east coast friends, this weekend is your last chance to go take a look at our traveling exhibition Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We the People?” in Philadelphia before it closes January 16th at the wonderful National Constitution Center.  It’s been exciting to know that these stories have been shared with the great people in the city of brotherly love. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll want to head on over soon!

Now it’s time to hit the road again.  Next stop: The Arab American National Museum.  I’m getting my winter coat ready as we take the exhibition to Dearborn, Michigan! Fighting for Democracy opens there on February 2nd so if you’re in the area, we expect to see you there!

It’s our last Target Free Family Saturday of 2011

Bring the family to the Museum this Saturday, December 10th as we finish off the year by designing wrapping paper and making paper snowflakes to go with this chilly weather that we’ve had the past couple of days.

We’re big fans of origami here at the Museum so we’ll also be making origami hopping frogs.  After you fold yours, have a contest with folded frogs made by other visitors to see how far they can hop.

If frogs aren’t your thing, we’ll also have an area for you to sharpen your origami skills making other fun things. Join us for these activities as well as Japanese gift wrapping workshops throughout the day.  A full schedule can be found here.

As an added bonus, if you come on Saturday, you’ll have a chance to join artist Patrick Nagatani at 2:00 pm for a gallery tour of his exhibition Desire for Magic: Patrick Nagatani currently on view in the Museum’s Weingart Foundation Gallery.

Finishing off 2011, we look ahead to 2012 for another year of family fun, which we hope you’ll join us for.  Our first event of the year is our big Oshogatsu New Year celebration on Sunday, January 8th.  Bring the whole family as we celebrate the Year of the Dragon! [Check out the Oshogatsu Family Day schedule of activities >>]

Come back on February 11th for our next Target Free Family Saturday and then again on March 10th for Target Free Family Day as well as a celebration of the opening of our next exhibition Folding Paper: the Infinite Possibilities of Origami.  See you soon!

Target Free Family Saturday is upon us again!

This Saturday, November 12th our theme is Planet Power.  As you can see from this picture of a very crowded corner in our office, volunteers and staff at the Japanese American National Museum have been busy saving up boxes, bottles, and other recyclable materials in preparation for a day of fun activities at the Museum from 11am – 4pm. 

Our friends at Great Leap have created a puppet making activity and several cool workshops for kids to participate in.  We’ll also be decorating re-useable bags (which you can carry your creations home in).    

Come on by!   Rain or shine we’ll be waiting for you!

Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love!

Back home the Museum is on Pacific Standard Time with our Drawing the Line exhibition opening on October 15th but we also have some very exciting news to report from the Eastern Time Zone. Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We the People?” is now at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and I’m thrilled to report that it looks fantastic in such a wonderful institution.  With Fighting for Democracy’s stop in Philadelphia, this project of JANM’s National Center for the Preservation of Democracy has now traveled to seven cities across the country.  There’s something significant about seeing this exhibition just a short walk from Independence Hall, where the Constitution was signed in 1787.  I think its presence in this location and in this city will have visitors reflecting a lot about the “Who is the “We” in We the People?” question.  Hmmmm… who was that “We” back in 1787?  Who has it been over the course of history?  Who it is now?

Theatrical performance in the Fighting for Democracy exhibition

Our friends at the National Constitution Center have done such impressive things with the exhibition.  In addition to a fantastic display, they have also created an incredible theatrical performance to go along with the show.

I’ve had the privilege of spending a lot of time with this exhibition at JANM over the years and yet, the actors portraying Bill, Carl, Domingo, Frances, George, Hazel, and Hector moved me to tears as they made me see these extraordinary lives in an entirely new way.  It is so exciting to know that school groups and visitors in Philadelphia will be able to enhance their experience of Fighting for Democracy with these performances.

Domingo Los Banos

This week’s opening events have been extra special for everyone because Domingo Los Banos, who is featured in the exhibition flew out to Philadelphia all the way from Hawai’i to be at the opening.  Domingo is an inspiration to many and it is always so wonderful to see him and witness his energy and spirited storytelling.

If you find yourself anywhere near Philadelphia between now and January 16, 2012, don’t miss the chance to visit the National Constitution Center and see JANM on the road!  (Of course, we always welcome school groups to make an appointment to visit the exhibition at the Museum in Los Angeles too!)

We’ll be “up in the air” at our next Target Free Family Saturday!

Autumn is here and that means JANM’s October 8th Target Free Family Saturday is right around the corner!  We took a little break in September to give everyone a chance to focus on the new school year. (Hope the year is off to a great start for all of our student friends out there!)  Now we’re ready for more fun with October’s “Up in the Air” theme.  Join us for kite making, a balloon artist, origami butterflies, and a tasty activity with Kidding Around in the Kitchen.  I can’t wait!  A complete schedule for the day can be found here.  Hope you can come!

Here’s a sample of one of the activities that we will be doing.  For now, this friendly balloon creature sits by himself in my at my desk but he’s looking forward to making more friends on October 8th!