Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ceramic Artists Respond to the Crisis in Japan

I recently received this post from NCECA and thought that I'd share what the ceramic community is doing in response to the needs of the people in Japan.

The astoundingly destructive events that occurred along the Northwest coast and inland communities in Japan to which we awoke on the morning of March 11, 2011 fill us with grief. The images coming to us via television and internet are so vivid, devastating and heart-wrenching. Our hearts go out to the survivors even as they stoically deal with days on end of uncertainty and confusion. Many of us involved in NCECA and the broader realm of ceramic art hold a special affinity for Japanese culture. Of even greater and more intimate impact, many of us also have dear friends and/or family there. The scale of this event has and will continue to affect thousands of people, and survivors in Japan are likely to need our assistance in the months and perhaps years ahead.

NCECA has received a number of e-mails following the terrible events that have transpired as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. NCECA includes great numbers of engaged and responsive individuals that do remarkable work in their communities every day. It is not so surprising then to observe the speed, tenacity and creativity that have emerged in the hours and days following the disaster.

In response to inquiries and calls to action received from our membership NCECA reached out to CERF+ to see if they could provide any guidance on charitable action and giving. One resource which they hoped to share with NCECA's membership is the Network for Good's list of first responders. CERF+ has also put feelers out to the arts community in Japan about artists and cultural workers who could use our support further down the line and NCECA plans to keep membership informed about what they uncover.Through personal e-mails from friends in Japan and following the mainstream media and blogs, a great deal of confusion persists on how those of us far from the loss and damage can best provide assistance to the people most affected. At this time, many of the agencies and NGOs collecting donations are not yet authorized by the Japanese government to provide aid where it is needed. For this reason and at this moment, although some members have suggested they would like to see NCECA launch a new initiative at the upcoming conference, it has been determined that it would be too late to do it well and too soon to provide adequate clarity about how the money would be put to appropriate use.

NCECA does want to call its membership's attention to Handmade for Japan which is a project launched last week by Ayumi Horie. She, Ai Kanazawa Cheung, and Kathryn Pombriant Manzella have mobilized to solicit, promote, and auction handmade pieces of art generously donated by talented artists throughout North America and Japan to raise money through an online auction on March 24-27 for relief efforts to assist the victims of Japan's catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emissions. Previews of the auction items will are available in English and Japanese through Facebook pages and Twitter updates. All inquiries in either language should be sent to handmadeforjapan@gmail.comThe initiative received some wonderful coverage last week through a New York Times blog. Handmade for Japan states that 100% of all net proceeds collected via the auction will be donated to Global Giving's Earth and Tsunami Relief Fund. The auction will begin on eBay on Thursday, March 24th and end on Sunday, March 27th. Auction items will be listed under the "Handmade for Japan" seller ID, and NCECA encourages its members and followers to view and bid generously.NCECA will continue to update its organizational Facebook page with a links to ceramic-centric events like Handmade for Japan that have the goal of providing resources for Japanese disaster relief.

Additionally events developed by NCECA members can also be posted on the NCECA website so long as sales are geared towards charitable relief.

Additionally, following the event in Tampa, NCECA will donate a percentage of proceeds from the conference onsite merchandise sales to a relief effort.This crisis is not one that will soon be resolved. The people of Japan, including those working in ceramic arts and education are likely to be in need of kindness and support for the foreseeable future. Given the nature and scale of the concerns, NCECA's board will consider additional efforts following the conference in Tampa, possibly for the 2012 conference in Seattle. Thank you to all whom following this event, shared ideas and information about how NCECA can respond in the midst of this critical time.

1 comment:

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