A Long Awaited Update, and a Call for MAPS Submissions!

As we are reaching a new, more controlled phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Friends of Aomori are returning to programming and outreach! All programming, fundraising, and events to benefit Friends had been on hold while the United States was in the midst of the pandemic, but we are excited to begin reaching out to the community once more. We will be updating our website and Facebook page with upcoming events we are planning, so please stay tuned!

Maine – Aomori Printmaking Society (MAPS) Call for Submissions

Calling all Maine Printmakers!

The Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society (MAPS) has an Open Call for prints for this years exchange. We welcome submissions from any artist currently residing in Maine, including artists already included in the MAPS collection. The form will close on July 2nd, and artists will be notified of their acceptance status by July 9th! Three submission per-artist are accepted.

Please submit your work through the following form:

EVENT: Join FOA President Jeff Badger and hear about Maine’s connection with Aomori

Join the Friends of Aomori President, and Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) Art Instructor, Jeff Badger on Wed, December 2, 2020 from 12:15 PM – 1:00 PM EST to hear about the overlapping projects between SMCC, the State of Maine, and Aomori, Japan.

From the Event Brite posting:

“Jeff Badger, Fine Arts Department Co-Chair and Global Studies Center Coordinator, will give a presentation about MAPS (Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society), an ongoing cultural exchange project with Aomori, Maine’s sister state in Japan. MAPS is a multi-tiered exchange project developed to share prints, exhibitions, and artist residencies between Maine and Aomori on an ongoing basis. This project has led to over twenty-five exhibitions, publications, and multiple delegation visits since it began in 2015.

Jeff will discuss the fascinating history of the relationship between Maine and Aomori which began with a shipwreck in 1889, and show images of the delegation visits, exhibitions, and woodblock prints by artists from Maine and Japan. He will discuss how his passion for cultural exchange informs his teaching and led to the founding the Global Studies Center at SMCC.”

To attend, please RSVP via this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/light-on-the-point-virtual-luncheon-maines-connections-with-aomori-japan-tickets-129504438261

MAPS 5 Installation at Monson Arts

Friends of Aomori is thrilled to announce that the 5th Collection of the Maine Aomori Printmaking Society (MAPS) is on display at the Monson Arts Gallery in Monson, Maine from now until January 15th, 2021. Just over one year ago these prints were shown in Aomori, which feels like a world away!

Monson Arts is a new artists residency and gallery located in Northern Maine at the edge of the Maine North Woods and nearby the Appalachian Trail. This is the first collaboration between Friends of Aomori and Monson Arts, and certainly not the last! While we cannot gather at the gallery together due to the on going COVID-19 pandemic, the gallery is open for visitors by appointment or, if you live in the area, you can walk by and see if it is open by chance.

For more information about the show, see this article by the Piscataquis Observer and this feature by Asia Matters for America

Click here to lean more about Monson Arts.

The MAPS 2020 collection features work by:

Lydia Badger, Stephen Burt, Susan Groce, David Harmon, Mary Hart, Emiko Kamada, Hitoshi Kikuchi, Osamu Kitamura, Michiko Kusakabe, Tadashi Saito, Hiroshi Takehana, Kiyohiro Toriyabe, Raegan Russell, Allison Derby Hildreth, Pilar Nadal, Noriyuki Ota, Lisa Pixley, Deloris A. White, David Wolfe, Tamiko Yamaya, and Tuya Yasuta.

MAPS is made possible by the generous support of the Rines-Thomspon fund of the Maine Community Foundation and Ocean House Gallery and Frame.

Message from the President & Board


Black Lives Matter

2020 has brought challenging times for all of us, and Friends of Aomori is no exception. Plans for workshops, exhibitions, exchange programs, and future delegation visits have been postponed or cancelled, and even with continued warm communications from our friends in Japan we feel more disconnected than usual from our work in supporting the Sister State relationship. Despite these challenges, the bonds between Maine and Aomori remain strong, and in time will be strengthened by our common experiences.

As we look toward the future, it is important to recognize the current moment in our own country. As a community of volunteers who study, teach, write about, advocate for, and create experiences that bring together diverse communities, Friends of Aomori is committed to learning from our shared humanity.

We believe that Black Lives Matter, and we condemn and reject systemic racism and discrimination.

For our friends in Japan, we recommend that you reach out to the Black Lives Matter movement happening in your part of the world, such as Black Lives Matter Kansai which has rallies, marches, and educational materials. They can also be found on Twitter.

You can also support the Japanese organization Black Creatives Japan

Another resource is The Open Letter Project on Anti-Blackness, which has letters you can send to friends and family explaining why Black Lives Matter to You.

The Japanese Version can be found here.


Until we can connect again, we wish you all good health and safe keeping.

In Solidarity,

The Friends of Aomori Board


Due to the coming snowstorm here in Maine, the Friends of Aomori party scheduled for tomorrow night (Dec. 05, 2019) at Oxbow has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule and celebrate with you soon!

At the party, we had planned to announce some big news: Friends of Aomori has been awarded a grant from the Rines/Thompson fund of the Maine Community Foundation to expand the Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society programs for 2020! This is an excellent ending to a great year, and we are appreciative of the support.

If you would like to support Friends, please consider a tax-deductible donation through our Paypal account, or purchase a print of “Fujisaki Apples” by our President Jeff Badger. Inspired by his recent trip to Aomori, Jeff Badger created this linocut with images of the famous apples of Fujisaki and Mt. Iwaki. The prints are for sale on his website, and a portion of each sale will be donated to Friends of Aomori.

Thank you for your ongoing support  and keep an eye out for the rescheduling of our Winter Event!


Join Us! Friends of Aomori Winter Event


December 02, 2019

5:30pm – 7:00pm

Oxbow Blending & Bottling

49 Washington Ave, Portland, ME 04101

Join the Volunteers of Friends of Aomori for a Social Event to celebrate the coming of Winter and the end of a successful year!

Meet the volunteers who give their time to supporting our Sister-State Relationship with Aomori, hear about the recent Delegation visit to Aomori, learn more about MAPS, and see how you too can become involved. Light refreshments will be provided.

We hope to see you there!

MAPS: From the Archives, 2015-2018



Viewing by Appointment Only 10/05-10/31 (Please contact Leslie Anderson: 207-615-8915)

Friends of Aomori is happy to collaborate with the Lofts Gallery for this exhibit! See this retrospective sampling of MAPS, looking at prints from both Maine and Aomori Artists who participated in the MAPS exchange between 2015-2018. Many of the artists from Maine will be in attendance for this special reception, so don’t miss this opportunity to meet some of these talented local MAPS artists!

MAPS prints to be exhibited are:

Reiko Kudo: “Portland Head Light Reminiscences”

SeizoYagihashi: Portland Museum of Art “7”

Emiko Seki: “Rasse-Ra!Rasse-Ra!” (Nebuta Dancers Shout)

Mitsuo Osaka: “Mt. Hakkoda in Blazing Tinted Leaves”

Yoshihiko Oyama: “Serene Autumn”


Adriane Herman: “Nurture”

Carter Shappy: “Untitled” [2015]

Clint Fulkerson: “Untitled” [2013]

Colleen Kinsella: “Octopus I.Leviathan”

Barbara Putnam: “Ice Bloom”

We hope to see you there on First Friday, October 4th, 2019!

Hashi / 橋 Maine Aomori Student Art Exchange Opening Reception

Berwick Academy, partnering with Friends of Aomori, is pleased to host Hashi / 橋, the second annual Maine-Aomori student print exchange exhibit at Berwick Academy’s Jackson Library Gallery in South Berwick, Maine from March 27-April 12, 2019. Hashi means “bridge” in Japanese.

This exhibit will feature over 70 prints made by students in Aomori, Japan. Raegan Russell, Visual Art Chair and art teacher at Berwick traveled to Aomori as a teacher delegate in November, 2018 and that trip sparked this exhibition.

We hope to see you there!

Poster draft aomori abstract feathers

Second Annual Children’s Print Exchange Show Opening in Aomori

The second annual Children’s Print Exchange between the students of Maine and Aomori had its official opening at the Munakata Shiko Memorial Museum in Aomori this past weekend!  Shared below are the newspaper feature and it’s annotated translation.

We hope to see you at the upcoming reception here in Maine at Berwick Academy (see this post for the show details)!

Children's Print Exchange Aomori News

Thank you to our partner Ono-san at the Munakata Museum for this annotated translation of the Newspaper Article shown above:

Chidlren's Print Exchange Aomori New Translation