Sister City Artist Exchange sets inaugural presentation
A local artist will share her experiences with Japanese culture with the public Monday night as part of the Hot Springs Sister City program.
Hot Springs and Hanamaki, Japan, have been sister cities for 25 years, and to celebrate the anniversary of the partnership, an artist from each city traveled to the other in 2018 to create a piece of art. Erin Holliday was the Hot Springs artist who was selected to go to Japan as part of the inaugural Sister City Artist Exchange program.
A big part of the sisterhood between the two cities is the student exchange program that sends representatives from each city to the other. Holliday said her interest in Japanese culture stems from the program after her family was a host family for Japanese students while she was in high school.
This led Holliday to take multiple classes in college about Japanese culture and art. When she heard about the plan to send a local artist to Japan, Holliday said she jumped at the opportunity immediately.
Holliday spent five weeks in Japan last summer. Having never been outside of America before, Holliday said she was a little nervous about the trip. One thing she said concerned her was that she would have to make it to the city, which
is three hours north of Tokyo, by herself despite not knowing any Japanese.
Once she was in Hanamaki, she said she discovered a city that felt very familiar. The city, like Hot Springs, has both mountains and hot springs. However, even more than visually, Holliday said the experience showed her how similar everybody is. “At no point was Japan unfamiliar,” she said.
While she was there, Holliday lived with four different host families, spending one week per family. She spent the other week traveling around the country. For the art project part of the trip, Holliday said she arrived in Japan with no idea of what she would make. She spent her time there looking for inspiration.
After returning to Hot Springs, Holliday spent three months building a sculpture, entitled “Hikinuki,” that was made out of 90 kilometers of monofilament. Around a dozen local artists helped Holliday create the artwork, which she said she felt was important. It was a community project for Hanamaki, not just from her.
Holliday returned to Hanamaki in November to unveil her sculpture to the city. She said the city seemed happy with the work and she enjoyed returning and getting to meet with all the friends she made during her summer visit.
Another part of the Sister City Program allows participants to share their experiences from their travel with their community. To help do this, Holliday will host several workshops at Emergent Arts — where she is the executive director — this spring.
The classes will be held on the second Saturday in February and then on the third Saturday from March through May. Each workshop can have up to 10 people participate, and each course costs $10. Visit http://www.emergentarts.org/ to sign up.
Holliday’s presentation will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday at Henderson State University — Hot Springs Academic Initiatives, Landmark Building, 201 Market St.
Holliday will show photos from her trip and items she brought home with her, like folk art and her Kyudo archery bow and arrows she learned to use while there.
Holliday said she got to meet and work with the Japanese artist who traveled to Hot Springs, Takuya Onozaki, while she was in Hanamaki, and again when he was in Hot Springs. He will unveil his painting in Hot Springs in February.
SMALL WORLD: Local artist Erin Holliday participated in the inaugural Sister City Artist Exchange with Hanamaki, Japan, last summer. While spending five weeks in Japan, Holliday, with her host mom, Makiko Ichikawa, said she felt at home with the people there, noting both cultures are very similar.
HIKINUKI: Local artist Erin Holliday created a sculpture for Hot Springs’ sister city Hanamaki after spending five weeks in the Japanese city. The piece, titled “Hikinuki” was made out of 90 kilometers of monofilament, and was presented to Hanamaki in November.
ART: This sculpture, titled “Hikinuki,” hangs in Hanamaki, Japan. It was built in Hot Springs by Erin Holliday with help from several other local artists.