To the Beat of a Different Drum

Both visually stunning and amazingly educational, visitors to the Children's Japanese Art Festival didn't need a plane ticket to be transported to the far east last Friday night.

After a year long study of Japanese arts and culture students from Jefferson, Washington and Lincoln Elementary schools in Lindsay came together at Washington Elementary to show off their educational venture to Japan.

Art projects and painted lanterns were everywhere you looked. It seemed every child was dressed in a colorful Kimono and was enthusiastically ready to tell or show friends and relatives what they had learned.

The evening also included multiple special guests including the Director of the Japan Information Center at the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, Midori Yamamitsu, Japanese Koto player Mrs. Tokumoto, the Fresno Gumyo Taiko Drummers, Professor of Sculpture at COS Richard Flores, Japanese artist Hiroko Sakai and brush and ink artist Joy Harvey.

The school district focused on the study of Japanese art and culture as a follow up plan to the Japan Fulbright Memorial Teachers Program. The program started with hands on research and study for three weeks in Japan by Director of Professional Development in Art Education, Michelle Bussey.

Throughout the year Japanese art history, geography, haiku, brush and ink, raku ceramics, silk painting, block printing and scroll painting techniques have found their way into classrooms.

In addition, Bussey brought Japanese artists, Megumi and Hiroko Sakai to conduct professional development, classroom visits, and participate in the Family Literacy and Art Night event Feb. 27. Both we present again at the Children's Japanese Festival.

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