The sister city relationship between Hot Springs and Hanamaki officially began with an official signing ceremony of the sister city agreement on January 15, 1993. In order celebrate that date, an open house will be held on Monday, January 15 at the new Sister City Office, 108 Pleasant Street. Members of the community are invited to drop by the office between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to see one of the most recent gifts from Hanamaki, an exhibit of works by Japanese artist Kunio Izuka. The exhibit celebrates the writings of Kenji Miyazawa, and an identical exhibit can be seen in Hanamaki. The exhibit is sponsored by members of the Hot Springs National Park Sister City Foundation Board of Directors.
The open house will also offer visitors an opportunity to find out more information about 25th anniversary plans. Visitors are welcome to share their ideas of how best to celebrate 25 years of friendship between the two cities. Those with photos that they would like to share can bring them to the open house. The photos can be scanned and added to the sister city photo collection, where they can be used in a slideshow to commemorating 25 years of friendship. The photo on the left is Mayor Melinda Baran signing the sister city agreement on behalf of the City of Hot Springs.
Kunio Izuka was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1936. He studied at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and moved to New York in 1964, where he taught sculpture and established the Japanese Artists Association of New York. As president of that organization, he continues to encourage the next generation. In 1998, he was awarded the Konjohosho award by the Japanese government for his cultural contributions.
Izuka has been creating anti-nuclear paintings in his Brooklyn studio for 30 years. Conversely, the source of this rage comes from his strong yearning for peace and a time of calm. Izuka calls for humanitarianism through his depiction of icons portraying the purity in female figures, nudes embodying maternal love, and birds symbolizing hope. As a painter, he created his distinct two-dimensional expression and made prints using a variety of techniques.
For more information on the Sister City Program 25th anniversary, contact Sister City Program Executive Director Mary Zunick, 545-6960.