This is a guest post by Ryan Neil. I am in full support of his words here:
Over the past fourteen months of research and planning the potential of the Artisans Cup has been a driving force in our bonsai community to grow and improve the level of our trees. The enthusiastic response of the entire western bonsai world fueled our ambition and helped shape and even evolve the Artisans Cup team’s own concept of the possibilities for such a show. The project was daunting from the beginning, but we’ve all grown learning just what it takes to put on an event of this scope and size, and to stay true to our vision of bringing bonsai into the public eye in a premier venue such as the Portland Art Museum.
We are truly grateful for the enthusiasm of the bonsai community and the encouragement you have all given over the past 14 months. And throughout the process and the many challenges we have encountered along the way, I find myself more motivated than ever to realize this exhibition. I believe I have been able to convey to so many folks around the country and the world that the Artisans Cup has the capacity to expand the awareness and level of bonsai in North America, to reach a new audience heretofore unaccustomed to experience living sculpture in the context of the Art Museum. Bonsai should be acknowledged as a vibrant and life affirming art form, rich in tradition but provocative and relevant to our contemporary culture.
However, despite my best efforts to accumulate a critical mass of backing to move our show forward, the state of the economy and the timing for such a show is still early. It’s clear that the Artisans Cup needs more time to gain momentum and support in the Pacific Northwest, as well as to raise the funds necessary within the bonsai community to make the show possible.
For once in my life I’m realizing the truth behind working smarter and not just harder. I see I will need the time to garner more support. As a result, we have made the decision to postpone the Artisans Cup until September 26th-28th, 2015.
Why delay the show, you ask? The overwhelming response to our proposal from the Portland business community has been very positive. Likewise the bonsai community has expressed its enthusiasm and anticipation for such an event. But because of continued uncertainties of where our economy will be even six months from now, most businesses can’t afford to commit funds at this point in time. We’ve also had to face a limited response from the North American bonsai community in the form of financial assistance. We need your help!
Why 2015? It’s no secret the Artisans Cup will be one of two major shows in North America, the other being the National Show in Rochester, NY. Through joint collaboration between the two exhibitions the hope is that there will be prominent venues for the highest level of bonsai achievement and presentation across the country. In order to honor our commitment and relationship with the National Show, the Artisans Cup will skip the 2014 season and come back stronger than ever in 2015.
What happens now? We keep pushing forward with our newly gained knowledge and experience. The learning curve was really steep to set up a show of this size and we have come amazingly far in such a short amount of time. However, there are more improvements to be made to fully do justice to the concept we have envisioned. We have one chance to do this the right way and the entire Artisans Cup team is fully committed to making sure the product we deliver to the public on such a large scale does justice to bonsai as an art.
What can you do? LOTS!!!
- Donate! As I mentioned before, we need your help! We have a strong, healthy, growing bonsai community in North America and this is an opportunity to take a major step in the advancement of our art form. Help us make that happen. There is a “donate” button on the Artisans Cup website (www.artisanscupofportland.com), or you can send a check to the Artisans Cup (PO Box 1121, St. Helens, OR 97051). For all the perks of donating, please check the website!
- Improve your bonsai and continue building the best show-able tree you possibly can. There are so many talented instructors teaching in North America, and so many resources for truly world-class material it’s time to make the commitment, take the plunge, and seize the opportunity. If you weren’t going to be ready to show a tree in 2013, now is your chance to get a tree ready for the Artisans Cup 2015!
The Artisans Cup is scheduled for September 26th-28th, 2015. Let’s all take this opportunity to utilize the momentum we’ve gained and the experience we’ve accumulated to take ourselves and our trees one step further in preparation to make an even more robust display of bonsai. We need your help, we need your trees, and we need your contributions! Together let’s make this show happen!