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Living Arts

The Living Arts Program 

The Living Arts Program is a participatory, creative arts program focused on building intergenerational and multicultural relationships and strengthening community. Through experiential and interactive programming for all ages, the Living Arts Program will preserve and promote the stories of Portland’s Nihonmachi and Historic Old Town and enhance the permanent and rotating exhibits of the Japanese American Museum of Oregon.  The programming will also focus on creative expression to explore legacies of racial injustice while building collaborations with existing organizations. 

The organizational outreach to develop programming includes the formation of a national advisory and a local program committee. 


Inaka: Back to the Land 
INAKA: Back to the Land is an initiative to address the historic loss of Japanese American farms in Oregon and document the histories and stories of legacy farms active today. The Living Arts Program of the Japanese American Museum of Oregon will exhibit and design innovative programming for intergenerational and multicultural audiences. For Japanese Americans, social justice and social action are inextricably linked to land and place.  As we “unearth” our past and “replant” our future, many generations will benefit. Arts programming, sustainable economic development, documentation, and preservation of stories will strengthen family and community connections and build new land based relationships with communities also preserving land and histories. 

Healing Circles for Change
In 2019, Tsuru for Solidarity, a direct-action social justice organization, began bringing together groups of Japanese Americans who were formerly interned at US concentration camps during WWII to protest immigrant detention at the border. JAMO was involved with a solidarity protest here in Portland at the same time. During these actions, it was realized that these internees and other generations that were represented at these actions needed a lot of healing—a way to process what they had been through. Tsuru for Solidarity created Healing Circles for Change to try to address the trauma of the concentration camps and other forms of oppression experienced by participants at the actions. It is our intention to bring these healing circles to our local Nikkei community.