JASRI has established strong friendships and alliances with several Japanese businesses, universities, corporations, and government officials over the years. Each year dignitaries from Japan attend our festival and JASRI members have traveled to Japan to attend festivals there. This had led to deep roots of collaboration with artist exchange programs. New England-based Jugoya Ensemble performed in Tokyo and other major cities; Japanese artists have shared their artworks at our RI events.
Going deeper, in March of 1991 when a major earthquake devastated Japan, provided Governor Haita and the Kawakatsu and Shizouka prefectures needed funding. We adopted Yamada Junior High School in the Iwate prefecture for five years providing computers, books, sports equipment, and hope.
JASRI has increased awareness of the Japanese culture in the Ocean State community. We share traditional and modern art, crafts, technology, and cultural treasures of Japan. We do this in educational outreach with Art Making workshops, lectures, and classes. Both in-person and online.
If you’re looking to get hands-on, we have all kinds of entertaining and inspiring mindfulness projects. Each is based on proven SEL (social-emotional learning) concepts. Projects focus on a variety of Japanese art forms accompanied by step-by-step activities, material lists with sources, and guiding questions to spark reflection and meaningful discussions.
Experiencing Culture, Food and Art
Our four-day long cultural festival, The Black Ships Festival, provides a breath-taking glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Japan, all against the majestic backdrop of Bristol and Newport, RI.
Our annual festival presents a kaleidoscope of local cultural performances, artefacts, handicrafts, and cuisine. Mixed martial arts, theatre and concerts, street art, awe-inspiring installations, and local flavors. With a rotation of skilled local artisans creating a spectacular global cultural fusion that will leave you wide-eyed! Previous festivals have showcased Sumo Wrestlers, demonstrations of the traditional tea ceremony and the art of Raku firing, Manga drawing workshops, and the unique sounds of Sumie Kaneko as she played traditional Japanese instruments.
Expect The Unexpected
Today our family-friendly festival has become an expanding exhibit of Asian art preserved over centuries. Pulsing with energy, innovation and color, the Black Ships Festival has fresh talent and variety each year. We showcase local and international performances, martial arts, cuisine, and a curated shopping extravaganza with unique and sophisticated crafts, must-haves for your collection, and the Japanese tradition of gift giving.
Keeping An Open Mind Is A Learning Experience
Our festival, events, and educational outreach programs continue to grow engaging with world-wide visitors and residents from neighboring communities throughout Southern New England.
In 2023 the festival will promote young artists ‘Connecting The World’. The idea is to exhibit Japanese Pop Culture ‘street art’. Art is about asking big questions. It’s also about investigating, studying, discovering, and sharing.
Families can join our first Kids Japanese Anime & Superhero Cosplay costume contest. JASRI plans to establish a "Connecting The World' Advisory Board of local teaching artists and arts educators to recommend emerging RI talent with works inspired by traditional and modern Japanese art forms. The artists participating in the 2023 events will explore the bridge between society, people, and art. Hopefully, these young artists will carry on building bridges between the Asian and American cultures.