Do Art! raises money for earthquake victims

Submitted by admin on Fri, 05/04/2012 - 10:34am

A group of Western Washington University Art History students held a fundraising event May 1 to benefit the victims of the March 2011 tsunami that ravished Japan as a result of the powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the northeast coast.

With about 15, 800 people killed, more than 3,150 still missing and about $235 billion in damages, according to Word Bank estimates, the tsunami was the most costly natural disaster ever recorded.

Students in Art History 411, a seminar focused on contemporary Japanese visual culture, organized “Do Art! Honor Japan: A Celebration of Japanese Visual Culture and Fundraiser for Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake,” to help with relief efforts.

They held interactive events and workshops, or “teach-ins,” celebrating Japanese culture on Red Square and in the Fine Arts Building. The students also made objects such as ink-painted kanji bookmarks and shibori tie-dye bracelets to be sold on that day; all proceeds went to Peace Winds America, a nonprofit organization in Seattle known for its effective distribution of donations to Great East Japan Earthquake victims. This event was co-sponsored by the Japanese Student Association..

They chose the date because although the phrase “May Day” summons images of workers marching and uniting for the cause of improved human rights or of colorfully dressed children dancing around a May Pole, “May Day” is also a distress call, used particularly in response to marine disasters.

“The students are doing this not simply to fulfill a class objective but with a sense of joy at having a platform from which to help victims of the quake,” said Julia Sapin, associate professor of Art History, before the event. “There is still much work to do before Japan and the people of the northeastern region can move on with their lives.”

For more information about the fundraiser, contact Julia Sapin at (360) 650-3670 or

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