Newark Museum of Art celebrates the Cherry Blossom Festival, Japanese culture

NEWARK, NJ — On Saturday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Newark Museum of Art will recognize one of the city’s nationally recognized traditions 1 the annual Cherry Blossom Festival — with a special virtual Community Day.

Did you know the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the country is found in Newark’s own Branch Brook Park? With more than 5,000 gorgeous Japanese cherry blossom trees creating a spectacular pink and white billboard, Newark is proud to have the greatest number of ephemeral blossoms in the country. 

Join the Newark Museum of Art for a virtual celebration to explore Japanese culture, enjoy spring activities and explore the wonders of cherry blossoms. 

Beginning at 10 a.m., guests can tune in for video drops with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, learn facts about cherry blossoms, watch a fierce competition between pastry chefs inspired by blossoming flowers, learn the basics of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and more.

“The Newark Museum of Art is excited to dedicate our upcoming Community Day to an art-inspired celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival,” said Silvia Filippini-Fantoni, deputy director of learning and engagement at the museum. “This virtual event is a remarkable way to welcome spring while experiencing the Japanese culture through our fun programming.”

Support for Community Day comes from the Horizon Foundation of New Jersey with additional funding from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

The schedule for Community Day includes the following: 

  • Video Drop: “A Celebration of Spring with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players” at 10 a.m. This is recommended for all ages. Enjoy this special spring-inspired recording of “Sakura, Sakura,” or “Cherry Blossom, Cherry Blossom,” by the NJSO Chamber Players, featuring Maya Shiraishi and James Tsao on violin; David Blinn on viola; Sarah Seiver on cello; and Lewis Paer on bass.
  • Books and Blooms at 11 a.m. This is recommended for all ages. Listen along to a story inspired by beautiful cherry blossoms and let your creativity bloom. After the story, have fun in a festive art-making activity. Materials needed include cardstock, acrylic or washable paint, paintbrush, popsicle stick and aluminum foil; or cardstock, Styrofoam takeout container, pen or pencil, acrylic or washable paint, and paintbrush.
  • Video Drop: “Cherry Blossoms: 10 Fun Facts” at noon. This is recommended for all ages. 
  • “Sugar Showdown: A Dessert Decorating Challenge” at 1 p.m. This is recommended for all ages. Enjoy this fierce competition between pastry chefs as they decorate desserts inspired by blossoming flowers and works from the museum’s collection. Learn the techniques and vote for your favorite dessert. There can only be one winner! 
  • “From Paper to Petal” at 2:30 p.m. This is recommended for those ages 3 and older. Celebrate spring by making paper cherry blossoms to decorate your home. In this engaging and easy-to-follow program, you will be led through the process of folding and cutting paper to create beautiful flowers. Materials needed include pencil, scissors, pieces of plain paper, markers and glue.
  • “The Art of Japanese Tea” at 4 p.m. This is recommended for those ages 3 and older. Hosting a tea ceremony and celebrating the blooming of cherry trees are century-old traditions in Japan. Learn the basics of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in this virtual demonstration with Omotesenke Domonkai Eastern Region USA.

To register for any of the above events, visit www.newarkmuseumart.org/community-day-cherry-blossom-festival.

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