Learn art through a cup of tea


Hammond resident Scott Rohner observes Rosemary Goddell’s art work on display. Godell’s work is a part of Zen Aesthetics exhibition. Prakriti Adhikari/The Lion’s Roar

The Hammond Regional Arts Center is expanding its Zen Aesthetics exhibition to include the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The event will be held on Sunday, Sept. 29. Currently, the arts center is displaying works from Rosemary Goodell, an artist whose work is heavily influenced by Japan.

According to the display at HRAC, Japanese Aesthetics are a set of ancient ideals that include wabi, transient and stark beauty, and sabi, the beauty of natural beauty and aging.

Tara Bennett, media coordinator for HRAC, explained that the tea ceremony is more than just about drinking tea.

“The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets, which balances with the bitter taste of the tea,” said Bennett. “Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one’s attention into the predefined movements. ”

Serving tea is an art and a spiritual discipline in Japanese culture.

“Serving tea is an art and a spiritual discipline in Japan and aesthetic contemplation is required,” explained Bennett. “The Japanese Tea Ceremony is steeped in Zen Buddhist thought and practice while combining art, appreciation of nature and social interaction. Many of the concepts of Zen Aesthetics are applied to the process of the Japanese Tea Ceremony right down to the placement of the tea utensils.”

Participants can also expect to learn traditional Japanese customs all while enjoying tea. The event will be

conducted by Naomi Yorder, Japan Society of New Orleans board member.

“During the ceremony, guests will enjoy tea and sweets while learning the conduct and etiquette of traditional Japanese tea custom,” shared Bennett. “The tea will be carefully prepared by Conservation Biologist Naomi Yoder, who studied Chado, the Way of Tea, at the Urasenke School. After the demonstration, Yoder will host a group discussion.”

Goodell’s work is mainly influenced by Japanese art, line, flat color, pattern and asymmetrical balance. Bennett explained that the main intention of organizing the event was to offer experiences beyond the exhibition.

“Rosemary Goodell’s artwork was heavily influenced by her time in Japan,” said Bennett. “So, we wanted to offer enriching experiences such as the tea ceremony as expanded programming for the exhibition. With the purposeful intent of the tea ceremony, and its intricate relation with art and aesthetics, it is another way to experience art at the Hammond Regional Arts Center.”

Bennett feels that the event is an opportunity to learn about a different culture without going to Japan.

“People will get to learn an age-old Japanese tradition that still is popular today without the need for a passport,” expressed Bennett.

Reservations can be made on the HRAC website or by calling directly at 985-542-7113. The fee is $25 per person. Seating is available only through reservation at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Prakriti Adhikari/The Lion’s Roar
Downtown Hammond has received an avenue to learn about Japanese culture and Zen Aesthetics in particular. A traditional Japanese Kimono is displayed at the Hammond Regional Arts Center.