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From the CEO: Welcome and Thank You

To our Members and all those who helped make Cultural Crossing a reality: Welcome and Thank You!

Photo by Jonathan Ley

Fifty years ago, who would have thought that the empty cement landscape of the former Zoo would be transformed into a place dedicated to beauty, nature, and learning more about each other? The visionaries who saw the potential are repeated in you, the people who are now helping us take the next step forward.

I travel frequently on behalf of the Garden and it is remarkable to me how the Garden’s reputation and work speaks to those around the globe. From Tokyo to London, Montreal to Buenos Aires. From humble ceramic artists to Japan’s First Lady. Every time we tell our story, people are inspired by what this organization aims to do.

Looking to the future, we started asking: how can we evolve that story, share it with more people, and tell it better? This was the moment to ask ourselves that question! A strong organization starts with a clear and concise mission, and there is no better time to reinvent ours than now, as we sit at the edge of tomorrow. For these last fifty years, the Garden’s mission has essentially been the Garden’s purpose. While it has been incredibly effective, it is also long and perhaps ineloquent:

The purpose of the Portland Japanese Garden is to create, maintain, improve, and administer an authentic, world-class Japanese garden in the city of Portland and to offer compatible educational, cultural, artistic, horticultural, environmental, and charitable activities.

The Garden’s Board of Trustees and Staff wanted a new mission statement to honor that purpose while reflecting our history, our community, and the role this organization plays in the world. We also wanted it to look forward and reflect our potential in a new, evolving world. I want to share with you something our good friend, Chris Riley, wrote of the Garden:

Born out of a hope that the experience of peace can contribute to a long lasting peace. Born out of a belief in the power of cultural exchange. Born out of a belief in the excellence of craft, evidenced in the garden itself, and the activities that come from it. Born out of a realization that all of these things are made more real and possible if we honor our connection to nature. These ideals and the possibilities of Cultural Crossing are more relevant to us all today than ever before… The Portland Japanese Garden brings people together in one place, demonstrating our fundamental interconnectedness, and sharing the ideals worldwide.

All of these things joined together became the basis of our new mission which I am proud to share with you to here today:

Our mission is to bring the ideals of the Portland Japanese Garden to the world: art of craft, connection of nature, experience of peace.

/ Photo by Jonathan Ley

At this historic moment in Garden history, it is inspiring to have a mission that reaffirms what we do here and why we exist. So again I say welcome to our future members! We are honored to serve you, our community, and we are honored as together we write the next chapter of the Garden’s story.

With gratitude,
Steve Bloom