Japanese artist shows work at Marquette Arts & Culture Center

An exhibit on display at the City of Marquette Arts & Culture Center highlights the talent of a Japanese woodcarver.

“Essence of Scene and Spirit of Wood” includes carvings of animals like frogs, rabbits, raccoons and many more. This is the second time the artist has visited Marquette. She first came to know the area during a Sister City trip from Higashiomi, Japan.

“Five years ago, I visited here for a Friend Cities program,” woodcarver and artist Tomoko Hirao said. “But before this, I visited one time to Lansing.”

Her trip to Lansing came as part of an artists’ exchange program. She exhibited her work there, and all she had to do to show it in Marquette was move the pieces north.

“I think this is a big chance,” Hirao said. “Our works (were) in Michigan, here, last year, so they stayed in Michigan, in Lansing, so this year (they were) moving to here.”

Her husband also produced the paintings that surround her carvings in the SmallWorks Gallery. She’ll attend a reception at the Arts & Culture Center from 6 to 8 Thursday night in honor of the show. The exhibit runs through June 28th.