Stephen D. Bloom, Chief Executive Officer
Under Steve Bloom’s leadership, Portland Japanese Garden has seen strong institutional and programmatic growth. He oversaw the completion of a $37 million expansion of the Garden and its facilities designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma, created a curatorial department, expanded and improved programs in culture, art, and education, established an International Japanese Garden Training Center, formed an International Advisory Board, and has dramatically increased the Garden’s national and international visibility and recognition.
In 2015, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced it was awarding the Foreign Minister’s Commendations in Honor of the 70th anniversary of the End of World War II. The award was given to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in the promotion of friendship between Japan and the United States. Bloom was awarded this prestigious recognition along with only 27 other individuals.
Bloom was a 2008-09 Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in Japan, sponsored by Hitachi, and concurrently served as Visiting Scholar at Tokyo University of Agriculture. Following his fellowship in Japan, Bloom led an effort to create the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) of which he served as its Founding Board President. Presented by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Bloom is the recent recipient of the “2017 Portland Award” recognizing greatest overall contribution to the promotion of Portland’s visitor industry. In 2018, on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary, the Garden Society of Japan bestowed Honorary Membership to Bloom in recognition of outstanding achievements in the promotion of Japanese Gardens worldwide.
Sadafumi Uchiyama, Garden Curator
Sadafumi (Sada) Uchiyama is the Garden Curator at Portland Japanese Garden. Prior to his appointment as Garden Curator in 2008, he served as a member on the Garden’s Board of Trustees for 2003-07.
A third-generation Japanese gardener from southern Japan, Uchiyama is devoted to fostering relations between Japanese gardens in Japan and those outside of Japan. He has been involved in the development of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) and serves as a Charter Member of its board and programming board.
Uchiyama has taught landscape design courses and lectured on Japanese gardening at colleges and public gardens throughout the United States and Japan. His writings have been featured in Garden Design, Fine Gardening, Inspired House, Luxe Magazine, as well as professional journals in Japan.
He is a registered landscape architect with a BLA and MLA from the University of Illinois. His representative projects include renovations of the Osaka Garden; the site of the 1893 Great Columbian Exposition at Jackson Park in Chicago (from 2000 until present); and the Shofu-en of the Denver Botanic Gardens (2001 – 2012). Most recently, he completed the Shoun-Kei Japanese garden at Sarah Duke Gardens at Duke University (2015). At Portland Japanese Garden, Uchiyama worked closely with Kengo Kuma to create and integrate new garden spaces into the Cultural Crossing expansion. The two have continued to work together, collaborating on the new Rolex Headquarters in Dallas, Texas and other projects in the US.
Akihito Nakanishi, Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, and Education
Akihito Nakanishi is a cultural leader and public diplomacy expert with 19 years of experience in government relations, public communication, artistic exchanges, and cultural programming in Japan.
For 10 years, Nakanishi served as the Cultural Affairs Specialist at the United States Embassy, Tokyo, where he oversaw a wide spectrum of embassy involvement in cultural, creative, and educational activities designed to enhance mutual understanding between the United States and Japan. In addition to being the principal advisor to the Mission’s Cultural Attaché, he also served as a cultural advisor to Ambassadors with the responsibility of directly overseeing some of the Ambassadors’ cultural and education projects such as “Ties Over Time” (under Amb. John V. Roos) and “International Poetry Exchange Project” (under Amb. Caroline B. Kennedy).
Prior to working for the Embassy, Nakanishi worked for three years as Program Director at one of the major media corporations in Tokyo, followed by a role as Exhibition Director for four years at a family-owned museum. Drawing upon this extensive knowledge of the arts, he has worked as an independent art director, producing exhibitions and art fairs (Art Photo Tokyo 2016), co-producing literary events and festivals (Tokyo International Literary Festival, 2012-2018), writing dossiers for arts events in specialty publications and newspapers (Bijutsu Techo, Kobe Shimbun), while running his own non-profit organization for regional revitalization and youth empowerment, echovisions.
For his work at the Embassy, Nakanishi has received multiple State Department Awards including the State Department Meritorious Honor Award
(May 2010), U.S. Embassy Japan Eagle Award (October 2011), and the U.S. Mission Japan Honor Award (October 2016).
Diane Durston, Curator Emerita
Diane Durston is a writer, lecturer, cultural consultant, and educator, who lived for 18 years in Japan.
For the past ten years, she has been the Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art & Education at Portland Japanese Garden, where she has been instrumental in expanding the Garden’s reputation as a center of cultural learning, laying the groundwork for the Garden’s new International Institute for Garden Arts and Culture.
She is the author of three books and numerous essays and articles on the culture and traditional way of life in Kyoto. Her book Old Kyoto is now in a second edition and 15th printing. The New York Times has referred to it as a “Japan travel classic.” Her other books include Kyoto: Seven Paths to the Heart of the City, an introduction to historic preservation districts in Kyoto. She has also contributed essays to the Encyclopedia of Japan, Japan, The Cycle of Life, and the Japan Crafts Sourcebook. Her most recent book, Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life was published in 2006.
As a cultural consultant, she has developed on-site cultural programs in Japan introducing Japanese art, culture, religion, history, and gardens for such organizations as the University of Pennsylvania, the Whitney Museum, the Yale Galleries, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since returning to the US in 1996, Durston has served as Special Programs Producer for the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where she produced month-long performing arts festivals in conjunction with the openings of two special exhibitions “Edo: Art in Japan 1615–1868″ in 1998 and of “Golden Age of Archeology in China” in 1999. From 2002–2006, Durston was Director of Special Projects and later Curator of Education at the Portland Art Museum.
Cynthia Johnson Haruyama, Deputy Director
In her role as Deputy Director, Cynthia Johnson Haruyama coordinates the work of all of the Garden’s departments and oversees implementation of the Strategic Plan, including new long-term initiatives. She also liaises with other cultural institutions and City bureaus, and serves as the Japanese Garden’s representative to the Explore Washington Park Board of Directors in the role of Board President.
Previously, Haruyama has been in senior management positions for several of Portland’s public gardens. She served as the Executive Director of Lan Su Chinese Garden (2008 – 2012) and Executive Director for Hoyt Arboretum (2001 – 2008). At both gardens, her first task was financial turn-around followed by a focus on visitor experience, long-range planning, capital renewal and replacement, and Board development. At both Lan Su Garden and Hoyt Arboretum, Haruyama re-started moribund fund development programs and raised significant funds for annual operations and major capital projects. Haruyama’s interest in non-profit management and public gardens began after practicing corporate and business law with Davis Wright Tremaine followed by her role as General Manager and Sales Director for garden equipment manufacturer, A.M. Andrews Co.
In 2001, she and her family lived for a year in her husband’s hometown of Kagoshima, Japan and travelled extensively in Japan, especially in southern Kyushu. Throughout her time in Japan, Haruyama visited many of Japan’s famed gardens, and observed regional variations in gardens ranging from Kyoto to Kyushu and the Ryukyu islands. Haruyama graduated with honors in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. Her law degree is from Columbia University in New York.
Cheryl Ching, Chief Operations Officer
Diane Freeman, Chief Financial Officer
Lisa Christy, Chief External Affairs Officer
Ashley McQuade, Director of Retail
Mike Rego, Director of Facilities