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Mingei partners with designers to build "Installations at the Station"
Hand-cast concrete tiles for "Tessellation #1" by Jason Lane, photo courtesy of Mingei International Museum. Photo: Ron Kerner.

SAN DIEGO, CA.- Mingei International Museum announced that artist-designers Miki Iwasaki and Jason Xavier Lane were selected by NTC Foundation's Art in Public Places Committee, to participate in the rotating public art program “Installations at the Station.” Their projects are helping to transform the historic 100-acre former Naval Training Center site into a thriving arts and culture destination for the community.

Mingei reached out to Iwasaki and Lane to bring to life folk art, craft and design through site-specific outdoor art installations in ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station with the assistance of arts organization Set & Drift. In collaborating with these artists, Mingei aims to promote the work of contemporary living designers that reflect the Mingei philosophy, a joy in making by hand useful objects of timeless beauty, and to incite conversations about current design practice.

Mingei Creative Director and Technology Strategist Alexis O’Banion states, “Mingei champions human creativity and these two projects are a unique opportunity for the Museum to shine a light on artists in our community that reflect our mission. We’re also very excited by the vision we share with the NTC Foundation and to contribute with community engagement around Installations at the Station. We are in the process of planning receptions, workshops and other programs with Jason and Miki, including at ArtWalk Liberty Station, which will be posted on our website this summer.”

Iwasaki said, “It’s a great opportunity to work with Mingei on the installation, and in the mingei tradition of exploring materials. It’s one of my most visited museums for making, and diversity of crafts. It’s inspiring to see the work and collection.”

Lane comments, “I'm honored that my aesthetic aligns with Mingei's mission. I’ve been going to the Museum since I was a kid with my family and was always fascinated by the craft there.”

Installation sites posed by Iwasaki and Lane are located next to the Sybil Stockdale Rose Garden outside Dick Laub NTC Command Center, where Shop Mingei and Cafe’ Mingei are located. Both works of public art provide functional seating and wayfinding opportunities:

Miki Iwasaki will create three separate spaces titled Facetime for both interaction and contemplation, hinting at communication via the sightlines created by their placement and perforation, while providing temporary shelter. Materials will patina over time further allowing for a visible connection to natural forces and site context.

Jason Xavier Lane will contribute a piece, Tessellation #1, that engages visitors and honors the region's rich history of craft and design. Surprising and harmonious, the sculptural monolith will be clad in three-dimensional hand-cast concrete tiles. Inset will be a bench of hand-hewn timber that speaks to Liberty Station’s original 1920s grand post-and-beam roof construction and the tradition of the shipwright in the legacy of naval shipbuilding.

Director of Set & Drift Stacy Kelley, who is also collaborating with Mingei on a suite of programming around these projects, adds: “The installations will inspire a series of programs led by the artists, from workshops for children and adults to receptions that will be free and open to the public. These activations will give the community an opportunity to view and follow the artists' creative process firsthand as their work on the pieces unfolds.”

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