The Japan Institute innovates for a new cultural center in Portland

Portland Japanese Garden CEO Steve Bloom addresses the crowd at a special ceremony commemorating the renovation of the Japan Institute’s new buildings. Behind him are Oregon State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, left, and U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici.

Steven Tonthat/OPB

In 2021, Portland Japanese Garden created the Japan Institute to advance their mission of continued U.S.-Japan cultural relations through art, nature, and cultural diplomacy.

The Japan Institute is currently divided into three centers: the World Center for Culture and Art, the International Exchange Forum, and the International Center for Japanese Garden Education.

Soon the Japan Institute will have a new space to call home.

Portland’s Japanese Garden is converting a series of buildings that once belonged to the Salvation Army into a new headquarters for the Japan Institute.

Located just five kilometers from the garden, the $25 million project will upgrade the currently empty buildings to include a main hall, chalets and large spaces for artists from around the world to come and create their works.

“We’ll have eight or nine different art studios where artists from Japan will come, and then artists from around the world and across the country and local artists can collaborate and learn from these amazing artists,” said Steve Bloom. , CEO of the Portland Japanese Garden.

At an official ceremony Thursday to commemorate the new space, Bloom said the institute will play a vital role in bridging cultural divides.

“I think it will be a meeting place in the meeting of minds, creativity and collaboration, and that’s what the world needs right now.”

Megumi Kato, Marketing Director of Portland Japanese Garden, said she appreciates that the Japanese Institute is a place where people can come and experience Japanese art and culture in a safe space.

“I want to help promote more peace in our community of Asians,” she said. “For a place like this to be in our community and accessible locally, it allows us to enrich our understanding of others and other cultures and our own culture. in some ways too.

Renovations are expected to be completed in 2024.

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