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December 2001 Newsletter
Happy Holidays!

 

Dear Friends,

November 14th, 2001 we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the WAH Center with a Benefit Dinner. Attending the celebration was a special exhibit (Oct. 9th thru Dec. 2nd) called "Friends & Mentors" honoring those who traveled a golden path in the arts with creative insights, energy, strong commitment and endurance that can be looked upon as a model of the highest ideals. Artists in the exhibit were Jack Lenor Larsen, Isamu Noguchi, Jerry Rudquist, Toshiko Takaezu, Ansei Uchima, Toshiko Uchima, and Esteban Vicente. These people, Yuko's friends and mentors, honored her with their friendship and spiritual and artistic guidance which has been essential to her in the development of her ideals and career, and inspired her to establish the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center.

On Reception Day, October 16th, Jack Lenor Larsen,Toshiko Takaezu, the living artists, were there along with Shoji Sadao, Executive Director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation, Anju and Yoko Uchima (family of the late Uchima's), Harriet Vicente (wife of the late Esteban Vicente), and many others.

Ambassador and Consul-General of Japan Takekazu Kawamura made a speech, along with Liz Koch delivering Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden's proclamation "on behalf of all Brooklynites."

Yin MeiAt the reception before the dinner on November 14th, Yin Mei, a dancer from China performed an elegant and moving piece. Also, Corinna Hiller performed her intriguing "Human Archeology" Butoh Dance.

Afterwards, we went to dinner at Giando on the Water. We had several speakers, including Jack Lenor Larsen and Toshiko Takaezu, the artists in the "Friends & Mentors" show; Dr. Thomas Schutte, President of Pratt Institute; Abraham Lubelski, Publisher of New York Arts Magazine; and Mark Daniel Cohen, art critic and essayist for the show's catalog (available for $20). All enjoyed the dinner and the atmosphere with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Plus, we had more entertainment...Dixieland Jazz led by Michael Arenella's Moonlighters!

To summarize, both days, October 16th and November 14th, were perfect autumn days, no rain, the show looked beautiful and the ambience was delightful. The guests were all in good spirits and praised the outstanding show, which pleased us greatly.

We must sadly tell you that on November 11th, Jerry Rudquist, one of the participating artists in the show died of brain cancer. We will sorely miss him.

On October 13th & 14th we had our 2nd annual Williamsburg Arts & Culture Festival (WAC Festival) with open studios of over 150 artists, plus participating local businesses & galleries. We had three shuttle buses & guide map covering Williamsburg /Greenpoint . Many visitors came and the artists reported positive results.

In June 2001, we had the first major showing of our permanent collection accumulated over 4 1/2 years. Some works were kindly donated or purchased by us at modest prices, mostly from emerging local talent and documenting the Williamsburg art scene at this time.

In May we had our 3rd annual Dance Festival with over 20 local choreographers and dancers with excellence attendance. We had a walking tour in collaboration with the Brooklyn Historical Society and Frank Jump (who produced the the "Fading Ad Campaign" show at the Center), and many other wonderful and exciting events throughout the year, including musical & theatrical performances, poetry readings, as well as ongoing programs.

We had several bus tours to the WAH Center, including one Docent Tour from the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington D.C. during the "Bed" show in April. We also had tours from the South Street Seaport Museum during the "Alchemical Body" show, in September, and tours from Long Island, Upstate and Manhattan, and many from Brooklyn during the "Friends & Mentors" show in October and November.

A special honor this year in March was the naming of Yuko Nii, Founder & Artistic Director, one of the State's Women of the Year, a "woman of excellence, vision & courage," by New York State Governor George Pataki for her creation of the WAH Center.

Another honor was Terrance Lindall, President & Executive Director, being named Vice Chairman of the Society for Art of the Imagination, a prestigious international membership organization based in London, England.

Just recently Mr. & Mrs Craig Morrison pledged $24,000 to a special fund for preservation of historic furnishings. Mr. Morrison is Chairman of our Architectural Restoration Committee, and his wife Debra Kinzer is our Vice President. They are offering this as a challenge to others to give for historic preservation of the WAH Center's building which is on the National Register of Historic Places and a New York City Landmark. They are also lending us an 1873 rosewood Chickering grand piano for the Grand Reception Hall.

And, finally, the restoration of our clock tower is completed, thanks to the generosity of the New York City Landmark Commission and the New York City Landmark Conservancy. But we still lack funds to address the serious deterioration of the exterior of the building.

After five years of great struggle to keep the WAH Center growing and vital, this year was especially rewarding.

Although our first benefit events during the "Friends & Mentors" show (the reception and dinner) were socially successful, the amount of money received from them fell short of expectations, partly due to the unfortunate national tragedy of September 11h which cast a chill over philanthropy for the arts. Because of the tragedy, WE NEED ART MORE THAN EVER, to console the spirits and unify people in common understanding through the universal language of the arts. So, we kindly ask you to be generous in support of the WAH Center as we attempt to further develop our programming and facilities to better serve the community.WE NEED YOUR HELP! Next year we will have more wonderful exhibits and events to share with you.

Due to the high cost of printing, postage and handling 5000 announcements & invitations cards from our mailing list, we are asking each of you to contribute kindly a minimum of $10 in order to subsidize the cost of mailing.

With Warmest Regards & Thanks! WAH CENTER Staff and BoardMany thanks to the artists, individual donors, local business people, and the following for their generous support in the past five years.

Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden
NYC Councilman Ken Fisher
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
New York City Landmark Commission
New York Landmark Conservancy
Brooklyn Arts Council
Brooklyn Historical Society
Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburg
Fifth Floor Foundation
Harvey Lichtenstein, BAM Local Devel. Corp.
Abraham Lubelski, Publisher, N. Y. Arts Magazine
Milton & Sally Avery Foundation
Peco Foundation
Republic National Bank (HSBC)
Tamarack Foundation

Special Thanks to Governor George Pataki

We also want to thank our volunteer staff, Orin Buck, Web-site Director ; Carol Quint, Director of the Williamsburg Arts & Culture Festival (WAC Festival); Whitney Kalke and Mary Westring, Coordinators, Open Studio Tours; John Dereszewski, Guide and Lecturer for the Williamsburg Historical Walking Tour: and the many other volunteers.