Patriots & Peacemakers opens February 16

Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country opens at JANM this Saturday on February 16 and will be on view through April 14, 2013. Fittingly, we will also be commemorating our annual Community Day of Remembrance here that day too.

Created by the Arab American National Museum (AANM), the exhibition tells true stories of heroism and self-sacrifice that affirm the important role Arab Americans have played in our country throughout its history.

Patriots & Peacemakers highlights three specific areas of service: the U.S. Armed Forces, diplomatic service and the Peace Corps. Personal narratives highlight Arab American men and women of different national and religious backgrounds. The exhibition also asks visitors to consider how commitment to service impacts them in their daily lives.

In addition to the exhibition from AANM, there are a few extra components. We are screening 9066 to 9/11: America’s Concentration Camps, Then…and Now?, a documentary produced by our Watase Media Arts Center in 2004. The film focuses on the parallels between the post-September 11 treatment of Arab Americans and Muslims in this country with treatment of Japanese Americans after the start of World War II.

AANM also created a special banner dedicating this presentation in Los Angeles to Senator Daniel K. Inouye who passed away at the end of last year “…In sincere appreciation for his contributions to the exhibition’s development, his support for the Arab American National Museum and the Arab American community, and his decades of exemplary service to our country.”

Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, Curator of Exhibits at AANM, came at the beginning of the month to work with JANM staff to install the exhibition in our upstairs gallery. One of the special perks of being a staff or volunteer at JANM is getting to go on walkthroughs of our new exhibitions with curators and artists.

You can check out photos from the special Patriots & Peacemakers walkthrough with Elizabeth on our Facebook page. Here are a few photos:

Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, AANM Curator of Exhibits, giving a walkthrough of "Patriots & Peacemakers" for JANM staff & volunteers.
Arab Americans are descendants of people who lived in the Arab World which consists of 22 countries in North Africa and West Asia.
"Patriots & Peacemakers" features personal stories of Arab Americans through history.
Stories are divided into 3 sections: military service, diplomatic service, and Peace Corps service.







View the rest of the Patriots & Peacemakers photos >>

Happy Lunar New Year!

Possessed (2012), Audrey Kawasaki, oil, acrylic, and graphite on wood panel


2013 is the Year of the Snake!

When I saw this image, I thought it would make for a cool Lunar New Year blog post, plus be a way to also promote our Supernatural exhibition that opened at JANM yesterday.

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters
Through March 17, 2013
Traditions are an integral part of every community. Some of these come from superstitions that our ancestors carried with them.

Supernatural features the work of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters—artists who have explored some of these otherworldly concepts, illustrating how traditional ideas have evolved and been adapted over time.

Year of the Snake t-shirt by Donna Ikkanda - $22.00

For more details:

Check out photos of the exhibition installation & Opening Party last night on our Facebook page: Supernatural photo album


Check out Year of the Snake and Asian zodiac-related items at our Museum Store >>



Stan Sakai, JA Santa, & GRB3 artists workshop this Saturday!

This Saturday will be another busy day at JANM! We’ll have 3 great reasons to visit us with your friends & family.

  • 11am – 2pm: Take a Picture with Japanese American Santa
    Japanese American Santa is coming to town! Take home a special holiday photo.
Usagi Yojimbo books available at the Museum Store!
  • 12pm – 2pm: Stan Sakai Book Signing
    Stan Sakai returns to JANM! Signed Usagi Yojimbo books make great holiday gifts. The Museum Store will have copies of his two latest books for sale—Usagi Yojimbo #26: Traitors of the Earth & 47 Ronin (signing books only)
  • 2pm – 4pm: Giant Robot Artists’ Entourage Workshop with Albert Reyes & Saelee Oh
    Come make art with Albert Reyes and Saelee Oh from Giant Robot Biennale 3 in this hands-on workshop. Immerse yourself in a variety of techniques and styles.

Here’s a description of what Saelee Oh has planned:

Open Love Letter to the Universe: We will be creating lots of artwork together! You can make portraits of your spirit animals, make artwork as an amulet for healing and protection for yourself and to give out to others and to illustrate our wishes for our world to be a better place.

Saelee Oh installation in "Giant Robot Biennale 3"


All three events are free with Museum admission (if you’re a member, that means it’s all free!). While you’re here, be sure to check out the Giant Robot Biennale 3 exhibition (closes January 20, 2013).

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, find meaningful & fun cultural gifts at our award-winning Museum Store. We have many more items—including one-of-a-kind ceramics, jewelry, and art pieces—than what is available online at

Holiday MAD*ness coming up!

Before you get too caught up in Thanksgiving preparation, don’t forget that this weekend is Member Appreciation Days weekend.

If you are a current JANM member (and you must have your card to do this) you can visit 21 cultural institutions in Southern California and receive free admission and 20% discount in some of the most unique stores in town (and a couple in San Diego too, for those of you who are traveling!)

Member Appreciation Days participating institutions list >>

Check the list for details and exceptions (some places are not open all three days!) And have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Yesterday a colleague, on his way to install our Fighting for Democracy exhibition in Wisconsin, sent us this iPhone photo of the newly opened “That’s So LA” section at LAX.

We have been waiting (since July) for Hudson Group to open three LAX stores featuring product from local museums. We were picked, along with LACMA and the Peterson Automotive Museum to be part of a new series of stores at the Los Angeles International Airport that would feature a section called “That’s So LA!” It would represent products from local businesses that would serve as an introduction to the varied culture scene found in our fair city.

To tap the rich museum landscape here was a brilliant idea and we are very fortunate and honored to have been chosen to participate. And of course, being able to display and sell our award-winning DVDs and our mission statement to thousands of new eyeballs is priceless. The original plan was for a store in one terminal, but the idea caught on and is now being included in THREE. The terminals (unconfirmed) are supposed to be Terminal 8, 7, and 4.

Admittedly, the section is small at this point, and could use some display finessing. I’m thinking of booking a flight somewhere and doing a merchandising blitz in the store before I board my flight! (BTW–the stores are after the security check so you can’t just drop in and shop. For that you will have to come to the Museum!)

Courtyard Kaeru at LAX


Folding Paper travels to New Hampshire!

If you missed the Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami exhibition when it was here at JANM earlier this year, there will be opportunities to catch the amazing origami pieces as the exhibition travels.

Richard Sweeney, 03M (Partial Shell), 2010. Watercolor paper, wet folded. Photo © Richard Sweeney.

Folding Paper just opened at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery at Keene State College in Keene, NH. It will be on display through December 9, 2012. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Gallery Hours:
Sunday-Wednesday: noon – 5pm
Thursday & Friday: noon – 7pm
Saturday: noon – 8pm

From there, it will go next to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI from January 26 – April 7, 2013. Future venues are the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento, CA), Oregon Historical Society (Portland, OR), Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria, IL), Bellevue Arts Museum (Bellevue, WA), Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs (Bonita Springs, FL), Brigham Young University Museum of Art (Provo, UT), and the Boise Art Museum (Boise, ID).

Check International Arts & Artists’ website for more info on the tour schedule and dates >>

Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami

The Folding Paper exhibition catalogue is still available from the Museum Store. Will make a great gift for an origami or art enthusiast!

Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami ($24.95)


Tomorrow: Megumi Inouye at Dwell on Design

Went to the Dwell Expo at the LA Convention Center today. They used to have a Japanese section with intresting designers from Japan, so I never know what I might find. Unfortunately they did not have that international section this year, but I still made some relevant connections for the Museum Store, so it was worth the price of admission (which admittedly for me, at least, was free–non-trade folks have to pay admission.)

One of the people I met was the editor of an online craft and design magazine called Handful of Salt ( Tomorrow they are sponsoring A JA artist who does very cool packaging. She will be incorporating tanabata wishes into hand-crafted bows for packaging tomorrow. Unfortunately I didn’t get the time (I think around 1 PM), but go to booth 1709 and they’ll know.

Read about Megumi here.

It’s M.A.D.ness, I tell you, M.A.D.ness!

Yes, today is the first day of our Spring Member Appreciation Days (May 11-13), and we are fielding the online orders that you members were all saving for the special 20% discount (certain restrictions apply!)

But don’t forget the other benefits of May M.A.D.ness–your current/valid JANM membership card will also get you free admission and a 20% store discount (certain restrictions apply) at 19 other Southern California cultural institutions! That means a whole weekend of cultural inspiration and shopping at places like LACMA, MOCA, Pacific Asia Museum, the LA Public Library Store, and MORE! We even have a few partners further south–Orange County of Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. You can find a complete list of our partners here.

Not a member yet? You can join today at the Museum and receive a temporary membership card that will be valid at our partnering institutions.

With three days, you can visit different places in Downtown LA, the Westside, Pasadena, and points south!

Take Mom on a special date this weekend or buy her a gift membership that will be good through our next MADness in November too!