Outreach activities by I.I. Chapters – Can we do more?
A challenge offered by Magdalena Tamura Reid – Ikebana Iwaya Fund – Philadelphia Chapter
The principal objective of Ikebana International is to “promote understanding and friendship between Japan and other countries through ikebana”. Are the chapter activities fulfilling this goal? They largely achieve this goal with the intercultural exchange with members.
However, the chapters should also be ikebana ambassadors to the general public.
Most chapters throughout the USA host an annual public exhibition. Many are in conjunction with a larger public organizatioin such as a botanical garden, art museum, garden club or flower show. Some join forces with local bonsai or orchid societies. These exhibitions provide significant exposure with outreach to the general public. By the same tocken, this also becomes a major recruiting opportunity for new members.
Other chapters donate weekly arrangements to an institution be it where the chapter gathers or meetings or in agreement with the local Japanese cultural organization. Ikebana beautifies these venues while raising awareness.
Further opportunities may arise when requests are received (and granted) from the general public for demonstrations or arrangements.
The challenging outreach often discussed is teaching school children. Planting the seeds with the youth can bolster the future of ikebana. In addition, parent-child workshops would be a win-win situation.
Does your chapter engage in special outreach programs? We would like to highlight outreach programs on our website. Please send us your programs, your stories and pictures. Furthermore, the Iwaya Fund is available to all chapters to provide financial grants to those chapters wishing to offer outreach programs or promote the art of Ikebana within their chapter or the respective Ikebana schools. This is a valuable financial resource to many chapters and you are encouraged to check it out.