Purple Moon Dance Project performs in gallery of Arkansas Arts Center

purple-moonThe Arkansas Arts Center presents a one-of-a-kind experience today at 2pm in the Townsend Wolfe Gallery which is currently displaying the exhibit Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066.

In a special collaboration, emerging within the gallery installation, Purple Moon Dance Project and Artistic Director Jill Togawa will present When Dreams Are Interrupted, a riveting site-specific performance that uncovers the profound imprint left on a neighborhood by the forced removal and mass evacuation of Japanese American communities in 1942.

Dancers Jill Togawa, Ruth Ichinaga and Sharon Sato will explore and infuse with the “Tag Project” to draw out the stories and memories amassed by artist Wendy Maruyama and to highlight local history and stories.

This production captures the painful experiences of hundreds of thousands of Americans of Japanese ancestry forced into concentration camps during World War II through a poignant and stunning combination of original choreography, music, visual art and poetry. It is through artistic and historically authentic expressions such as these that we remember, pay tribute to and honor those who suffered this unspeakable injustice, in hopes that we may prevent such a dark episode in America’s history from ever happening again.

A Princess, a Prince and a Pea at the AAC

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre marches into the new month with a new take on an old tale.  The AAC revisits the Hans Christian Andersen classic The Princess and the Pea.  Alan Keith Smith wrote the adaptation and Artistic Director Bradley Anderson directs this production.

In Smith’s take on the classic tale, there is an added twist of mistaken identity as the Princess’ servant is thought to be the actual Princess.  Though there are new twists, this story still has a Prince, a Queen, twenty mattresses and one tiny pea.

The cast is led by Rachel Haislip as Princess Cordelia, Lucy Miller as her servant Jane, Jeremy Matthey as Prince Perry, Aleigha Morton as Queen Perimeta, John Isner as Womlitt, Michael Pere as Count Quint and Brooke Melton and Rachel Caffey as servants.  Though a play, it features a musical score by Lori Isner.

The Princess and the Pea opened public performances on Friday and runs through March 24.  During Spring Break week, there will be special matinees at 2pm from March 19 through 22.

While at the Arkansas Arts Center, visitors can also check out numerous outstanding exhibits including Edward Weston: Leaves of Grass and Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066.  Dr. Todd Herman is the Executive Director of the Arkansas Arts Center.

Arkansas Arts Center features Wendy Maruyama’s Executive Order 9066


Wendy Maruyama
Watchtower, 2008

Exhibits look at Japanese-American internment camps during WWII

This exhibition combines two projects of Wendy Maruyama, a studio furniture maker and head of the studio furniture program at San Diego State University. These projects, the Tag Project and Executive Order 9066, together tell the story of the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II.

In the Tag Project, Maruyama replicated 120,000 individual identification tags worn by the internees in the ten relocation camps, including two in Arkansas. Maruyama assembled the re-created paper tags in ten groups, each group representing all the internees at a specific camp. Each of these groupings hangs from the gallery ceiling and is about 11 feet tall. Maruyama has folded the Tag Project into a parallel project of hers titled Executive Order 9066 to show them together in this exhibition.

Executive Order 9066 was the directive signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordering the incarceration of all people of Japanese ancestry then resident in the United States. For the parallel project, Maruyama created work that explores ethnicity and identity through suitcases, footlockers and steamer trunks, artifacts from their owners’ forced relocation journey in 1942.

The exhibits were organized by The Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

The Arts Center has collaborated with the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies and the Arkansas Center for History and Culture to organize Relics of Rohwer: Gaman and the Art of Perseverance, a related exhibition documenting the experiences and artwork of Japanese Americans at Rohwer, one of two internment camps located in Arkansas.The artwork is on loan from the Mabel Rose Jamison Vogel/Rosalie Santine Gould Collection, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System.