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Freer and Sackler Galleries Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with Monster Tales, Anime Films and ImaginAsia Workshops March 28-April 12

Media only: Ellie Reynolds, 202.633.0521; Elizabeth Bridgforth, 202.633.0521
Public only: 202.633.1000

Sackler with blooming cherry blossom treeThe Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery will offer a variety of programs, exhibitions and tours to celebrate the 2009 National Cherry Blossom Festival, March 28 through April 12, in Washington, D.C.

Coinciding with the festival, the Sackler Gallery presents "The Tale of Shuten Dōji," March 21 through Sept. 20. Colorful illustrations on scrolls, screens, fans and books from Japan's Edo period (1615-1868) tell the heroic tale of the conquest of the terrifying red monster Shuten Dōji by the hero Minamoto Yorimitsu (948–1021), known as Raikō. Docent-led tours will be available throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Visitors can also explore the Japanese galleries in the Freer and learn how artists from the ninth through 19th centuries developed a distinctive repertoire of techniques for applying gold and silver to works of art in "Moonlight and Golden Clouds: Silver and Gold in the Arts of Japan," on view through Nov. 8. In the adjacent galleries, 13 ceramics from China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan show how broken clay vessels were mended with lacquer resin and sprinkled with gold dust—transforming their appearance and creating a new component of appreciation in "Golden Seams: The Japanese Art of Mending Ceramics," also on view though Nov. 8.

In the Freer and Sackler's ImaginAsia workshops, children ages 8-14 and their adult companions can experience an exhibition and create a related art project to take home. On March 28 and 29, ImaginAsia presents an "Anime Artist Workshop," which explores how contemporary artists draw upon the traditions of Japanese masters. On April 4-19, participants can learn about the exhibition "Moonlight and Clouds" and make their own silver and gold creations.

On Saturday, March 28, the Freer Gallery hosts the seventh annual "National Cherry Blossom Anime Marathon" in cooperation with the Japan Information and Culture Center and Otakorp Inc. The daylong event, beginning at 11 a.m. in the Meyer Auditorium, features a costume show and exhibition courtesy of the DC Anime Club.

Nine Japanese films are also coming to the Freer in the traveling retrospective "In the Realm of Oshima," showcasing the brash, rebellious, passionate and conservative films of director Nagisa Oshima. Films will be screened on Fridays and Sundays from March 6 through April 5; two tickets per person will be distributed at the Meyer Auditorium one hour before each screening. For up-to-date information on show times and film titles and descriptions, visit

"The Tale of Shuten Dōji" has been made possible with support from the Anne van Biema Endowment Fund.

"In the Realm of Oshima" was organized by James Quandt of the Cinematheque Ontario and sponsored by the Japan Foundation, the Kawakita Memorial Film Institute and Janus Films.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual two-week, citywide event featuring daily cultural performances, arts and crafts, exhibits and demonstrations, sporting events, international cuisine and other special events. It will be held March 28-April 12, with the parade April 4. The 2009 festival celebrates the 97th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees to United States from Japan and the enduring friendship between the citizens of the two countries.

The Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, except Dec. 25, and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or visit the Web site:

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