Exhibition commemorates Boston’s 60-year sister city connection to Kyoto.

September 10 to November 10, 2019, at the SA + C’s Seaport Gallery.

BOSTON – July 11, 2019 – Nearly 30 artists from the Artists Group Kogei-Kyoto crafts collective in Kyoto, Japan will contribute exquisite handmade items to the Group’s first American exhibition, which will be on display at the Society of Arts + Crafts’ (SA + C) Seaport gallery from Sept. 10 to Nov. 10, 2019.  “Kogei-Kyoto at SA+C Boston: Contemporary Innovators in Japanese Arts and Crafts” is co-sponsored by the Japan Society of Boston and part of a city-wide celebration of Boston’s 60-year sister city relationship with Kyoto. Gallery hours and exhibit information is available at societyofcrafts.org.

Comprising traditional pieces as well as new works made with traditional methods, this wide-ranging exhibition displays craft in multiple mediums including ceramics, textiles, metal- and wood-working, glass, lacquer, and fabric dyeing. Artists from New England will host demonstrations and lead Japanese culture workshops throughout the exhibition’s run.  

Works in “Kogei-Kyoto at SA + C Boston” are alternately fanciful and reserved. Some are designed as art objects while others are functional enough for daily use; all are organically inspired. There are sumptuously curved vases and small sculptures, a pitcher that suggests a tree trunk with branches, and undulating stitches on a woven textile that suggest waves of sand or water. Traditional Japanese imagery abounds: cranes, fish, birds and dragons adorn vessels; a metal sculpture evokes a samurai helmet; a wood chest of drawers recalls a temple.

The practice of kogei[English pronounciation KOH-gay] evokes the sense of harmony between humans and nature.  Works embodying kogeiare believed to have been created as early as the 8th century. Today, kogeiis understood as synonymous with decorative arts. The Artists Group Kogei-Kyoto, which includes world-class artists and a cultural history researcher, was founded in 2006 to spread awareness of kogeifine arts worldwide and encourage their broader use in daily life. Since its inception, the Artists Group Kogei-Kyoto has mounted acclaimed exhibitions in Kyoto and Nagano (Japan), Hanoi (Vietnam) and Paris. The Society of Arts + Crafts exhibition is the first American showing for the group.

“With SA + C as the first American institution to welcome the Artists Group Kogei-Kyoto to this country, our visitors have an exclusive chance to see the work of extraordinary artists,” says Executive Director Brigitte Martin.  “Boston has a long history of connection to Kyoto and Japan, and it’s exciting for us to connect with, and present, the finest craftspeople from the other side of the world.”

“It is a rare opportunity to be able to bring kogei work of this quality, and tremendously exciting to share this with Boston,” says Japan Society of Boston Managing Director Yuko Handa.  “Kogei artistry is in a class of its own in Japan. What they do is traditional but also very forward-looking. The work of the Kogei-Kyoto group shines with highly skilled artistic expression, both in form and decoration.”

As part of its non-profit mission to support craft artists, all of the works in the “Kogei-Kyoto at SA+C Boston: Contemporary Innovators in Japanese Arts and Crafts” exhibition will be available for purchase. In addition to the featured pieces, Kogei-Kyoto artists will bring other works to be offered for sale at the Society of Arts + Crafts’ on-site retail gallery.

In addition to “Kogei-Kyoto at SA + C Boston,” which is free and open to the public during regular gallery hours, SA+C and the Japan Society of Boston will present demonstrations of Japanese cultural crafts throughout the run. Traditional tea and incense ceremonies, kimono demonstrations and more are being planned. Details of the demonstrations will be available on societyofcrafts.org.

Incorporated in 1897, the Society of Arts + Crafts has been at the forefront of the American craft movement, fostering the development, sales, recognition and education of crafts for more than 100 years. Its dual mission is to encourage the creation, collection and promotion of the work of contemporary craft artists, and to advance public appreciation of fine craft. SA + C sponsors exhibitions, awards, and educational programming, and promotes the work of more than 400 craft artists in its retail and exhibition galleries on an ongoing basis.

The Japan Society of Boston, Inc, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote cultural and economic ties and active interchange between Japanese and Americans for mutual understanding, benefit and enjoyment. It serves as a programming nexus for a network of individuals, institutions and businesses linked together by a strong interest in Japan, and a shared recognition of the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship.

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  • Representatives from SA + C and Japan Society of Boston are available to talk about this exhibition.
  • High-resolution photos of exhibition highlights are available here.Other photos also available.
  • Press preview tours can be arranged before opening, or during the run of the exhibition. RSVP required.
  • For interviews, photos and tours, contact John Michael Kennedy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 781-620-1761.