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Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial 2012


Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial 2012
© Theodor Horydczak Collection (Library of Congress)

In the spring of 2012, the National Cherry Blossom Festival hosted a once-in-a-lifetime centennial celebration. In 1912, the city of Tokyo, Japan gave Washington DC an incredible gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees to be planted around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park and on the grounds of the Washington Monument. The 100th anniversary of these beautiful trees was celebrated with 5-weeks of spectacular events. The centennial National Cherry Blossom Festival was one of the biggest celebrations ever.

Dates: March 20 – April 27, 2012.

Centennial Exhibits

  • 5x5 Public Art Project - Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities have partnered with the National Cherry Blossom Festival's Centennial Celebration to increase the visibility of Washington, DC's art landscape as a world-class cultural destination. The project, entitled 5x5, will exhibit 25 ground-breaking public art installations commissioned by artists from around the world. (March 20 – April 27, 2012)
  • Mandarin Oriental Hotel - 100 years of Japanese Kimono. A special kimono exhibit and fundraiser showcases beautiful and finely woven kimono and highlights the techniques and evolution of kimono-making over the past 100 years. (February 15 through April 30, 2012)
  • National Gallery of Art - Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800). The Japanese National Treasure, an entire set of 30 scrolls of bird-and-flower paintings is on display for the 100th anniversary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (March 30-April 29, 2012) Live musical performances will also be held throughout the season at the National Gallery of Art Cherry Blossom Music Festival.
  • Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery - Masters of Mercy: Buddha's Amazing Disciples. The 100 painting series reflects a popular theme in Edo art: the lives and deeds of the Buddha's legendary 500 disciples. (March 10-July 8, 2012) and Hokusai: 36 Views of Mount Fuji. The exhibition includes some of the best-known images in world art, including "Beneath the Wave Off Kanagawa" or "The Great Wave" and "South Wind at Clear Dawn" or "Red Fuji." (March 24-June 17, 2012)
  • Library of Congress - Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship. On display will be 54 items from the Library of Congress collections, illuminating the story of these landmark trees, the historical significance of cherry blossoms in Japan and their continuing resonance in American culture. See watercolor drawings of blossom varieties among the original trees by K. Tsunoi from 1918 to 1921; Japanese woodblock prints, Japanese books, photographs, posters, editorial cartoons, postcards and other printed ephemera.
  • Phillips Collection - Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard. The exhibit focuses on Japonisme, the influence of Japanese art, culture, and aesthetics (through May 6, 2012)
  • National Geographic Museum - Samurai: The Warrior Transformed. The exhibition explores the role and symbolism of the Samurai as part of the relationship between the United States and Japan and the role the Samurai played as diplomats and cultural ambassadors. A complementary gallery of photographs, Reflections of Japan: Photographs by Eliza Scidmore, features 27 hand-colored photographs from the National Geographic archives of Scidmore's travels to Japan in the early 1900s. (March 7- Sept. 3, 2012)
  • The Textile Museum - Woven Treasures of Japan’s Tawaraya Workshop. The exhibit includes 37 Japanese silks and Imperial garments on loan from the Tawaraya workshop, including lengths of fabric and completed costumes. Four uchigi (colorful robes worn underneath formal outer garments) will be displayed, in addition to a kosode robe used in Noh theater. The historical basis and aesthetics of each design offer greater understanding Japanese court tradition and culture. (March 23 – August 12, 2012)
See a complete guide to the National Cherry Blossom Festival

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