Museums play a major role in defining a city, and as I await the reopening of the Mingei International Museum on September 3rd, 2021, I have never been as excited for San Diego as I am now.
The reason for my anticipation is because I dream of San Diego becoming a city where people deeply appreciate the social and spiritual significance of craft, and with the fresh energy of the revitalized Mingei Museum, it will become a destination for people in search of design and craft inspirations. I would also like to believe that it is no coincidence that I live in a city where the only Mingei museum outside of Japan is located.
The Mingei International’s management, headed by director Rob Sidner and aided by architect Jennifer Luce, designed the new museum with an open ground floor. It is intended to become a “living room” for Balboa Park where representative objects from the collection will always be on view, free of charge, for anyone to experience craft from many cultures. The space will also be equipped with a café, bistro, and shop: Becoming a museum that serves as a place for people to gather, eat, and drink or to simply be.
Featuring careful use of materials and excellent craftsmanship within the fabric of its design, the newly renovated museum will be an important addition to our local community and cultural identity. But the cost to pay for this grand transformation has yet to be fully funded, so, as an expression of community support for the museum, I asked 20th generation master tea whisk maker, Tanimura Tango in Nara, Japan, to create limited-edition tea whisks (chasen) in the color scheme of Mingei International Museum to organize a modest fundraiser.
Tanimura Tango’s tea whisk is one of the articles that the Mingei International Museum added to its collection in 2020. His shin-kazuho chasen was also included in the Mingei time capsule this January, together with select Museum publications and other undisclosed objects to commemorate the occasion. This makes his work the perfect symbol for this fundraiser.
To me, the tea whisk is an allegory for craft that connects us to people across history -over 500 years- and cultures whose collective labor has given it form. In a world that places so much value on speed and immediacy, it is also a powerful reminder that we should strive to build a culture that does not easily forget.
Please help me raise $1000 to donate to the museum that will include all the proceeds from the sale of these limited-edition tea whisks. The whisks are made of white bamboo in shin-kazuho style, a tried and tested design that is highly durable while creating fine foam on top of your matcha when used. It is the same style that is used by the grandmaster of the largest tea school in Japan.
Lastly, thank you very much for your support for my fundraiser. I hope that this blog post will entice you to include San Diego in the list of places that you will visit in the future.
Mingei International Museum reopens over Labor Day weekend
Free admission, September 3rd – 6th
For more information or to donate directly to the museum, please visit their website