Three months have passed since northern Japan experienced extraordinary destruction and devastation due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. In April, Asia Society staff came together to show solidarity with those who are suffering in Japan by every means possible — sending encouraging messages through music, talks, and also giving donations online.
During that charity concert, my friends in the Japanese art community in New York announced a grassroots movement, "Love Art & Help Japan." For the past three months, we sold T-shirts and placed "bokin-bako" donation boxes with our proud logo throughout the city and its vicinity. This box movement began with only a handful of art galleries offering spots to us to put the boxes. Amazingly, it grew into a network of nearly 70 art galleries, cultural institutions, alternative spaces, and auction houses, kindly helping us raise money for Japan through this movement.
As we reached the three-months mark after the quake, we collected our boxes from all these participating venues. Today, I want to report that through this movement, we raised over $10,000. We are talking about $10,000 in pennies, quarters, single dollar bills, and some Benjamin Franklins! This means a lot to us, maybe even more than one big check (though that would be nice, too). All the money raised will be sent to the Japanese Red Cross.
I know many of you have seen these boxes, given additional donations, purchased T-shirts, and spread the word for us. So, I want to thank you on behalf of the Japanese art community in New York.
Arigato — we will continue helping Japan in creative ways!
"Love Art & Help Japan" was initiated by the following individuals:
Katsura Yamaguchi, Senior Vice President/International Director, Christie's Inc.
Hitoshi Sagaseki, Creative Director of J-Collabo
Yoko Furusho, Illustrator
Aneta Glinkowska, Co-founder of NY Art Beat
Kosuke Fujitaka, Co-founder of NY Art Beat/Tokyo Art Beat
Miwako Tezuka is Associate Curator at the Asia Society Museum in New York.