Sis­ter City Artist Ex­change sets in­au­gu­ral pre­sen­ta­tion

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - TANNER NEW­TON

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.

Sub­mit­ted photo

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.

Sub­mit­ted photo

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.

Sub­mit­ted photo

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.

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