In this series, we are introducing our many Chapters and Study Groups who love, learn and practice Ikenobo ikebana with passion. The 3rd Chapter we will introduce is Ikenobo Chicago Chapter located in the Midwestern United States along the shores of Lake Michigan. Mr. Charles Harris, the President of Chicago Chapter introduce the Chapter.
Chicago is home to the internationally acclaimed Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera and the Joffrey Ballet. Our public sculpture includes works by Matisse, Picasso, Calder and Chagall. We are home to one of the largest populations of Polish, Puerto Rican and Mexican citizens in North America. Our city has given the world the Ferris wheel, skyscrapers, electric street lights and elevator brakes.
Senior Professor Ikka Nakashima, recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Rays in 2006, founded the Chicago Chapter in 1964. Under her guidance, Ikenobo was presented at major Midwestern cultural institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, the University of Iowa, Illinois Institute of Technology, DePaul University and many others. The chapter has mounted an annual Ikenobo Exhibition at the Chicago Botanic Garden for over 30 years and continues that tradition with an exhibition scheduled for 2022. The chapter also works with the Chicago Park District and mounts exhibitions at Garfield Park Conservatory.
While the pandemic denied many activities, it created new opportunities. In collaboration with the Japanese Culture Center, the Chicago Chapter mounted a virtual exhibition in 2020 and, in 2021, an Ikebana Walk. The walk was a response to COVID 19 restrictions and the chapter created ikebana art that was placed in retail store windows along a business corridor. As pedestrians walked down the street, they viewed the art work on display. Among those at the ribbon cutting were Consul General Kenichi Okada, State Senator Sarah Feigenholtz and Osaka Sister City Representative Kimiyo Oyaka.
The Chicago Chapter currently provides private instruction, a weekly Intermediate, Beginners, and Advanced Class as well as a bi-monthly Rikka Class. In a city as diverse as Chicago, cultural outreach is an integral part of the chapter’s activities and we do this through demonstrations, workshops and participation in public events. As times change, chapters adapt new method to promote ikebana. Some time-honored practices of the past no longer have a strong voice in the buzz of social media, computer-based learning and cyber reality. We developed a virtual Beginners Class and maintain a website, chicagoikenobo.org as well as a Facebook page, Ikenobo Chicago in response to these changes.
Chicago is built on prairie and swamp land. Plants that thrive in the area are hydrangea, astilbe, liatrice, alium, sedum, yarrow, bluestem grass, euonymous, Red Bud and spirea.
You can learn more on the website of Chicago Chapter.
This time we have introduced the Ikenobo Chicago Chapter from USA. Next time we will introduce another Chapter or Study Group from different country. We hope are looking forward to share this with you.