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The Wall Street Journal

Reaching Out to the Arts to Help Earthquake Victims in Japan by Melanie Grayce West

The Wall Street Journal

In the hours following the March 11 earthquake in northeast Japan, the New York-based nonprofit Japan Society launched an earthquake relief fund. Since then, donations to the fund have come in bit by bit from all corners of the city.

Nahoko Sugiyama and Kashimi Asai, alumnae of Dance New Amsterdam, organized a benefit dance performance with other graduates on March 20. The organization donated the theater space and the technical crew donated their time. The dancers donated $4,070 on Wednesday.

DJ Tadaaki Iwaki and pop-and-lock street dance performer Kenichi Ebina organized a performance and contributed $3,398; a stoop sale and bake sale held by Japanese moms in Brooklyn raised $3,800; a swing dance group organized by Japanese women held a "Swing for Japan" fund-raiser and contributed $5,700 to the fund.

Parents and students from PS 59 Beekman Hill International near Japan Society's headquarters delivered money in person for the fund, and "a man from the Bronx organized an outdoor barbecue in the freezing cold and delivered over $3,000," says Shannon Jowett, director of communications for Japan Society.

As of Wednesday, a little more than $3.5 million has come in from over 11,700 donations. Among the thousands of donors is gallerist Joan Mirviss who specializes in Japanese art. With a personal gift and a percentage of profits from recent sales from her gallery, she's donated $10,500 so far.

The disaster happened around the time of "Asia Week," a citywide collaboration of Asian art specialists, cultural institutions, galleries, museums and auction houses. Ms. Mirviss worked to get news of Japan Society's fund out to Asia Week participants and delivered fliers to auction houses and dealers.

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