Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art & Education
Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon

“Living in Harmony with Nature: The Japanese Garden and the Concept of Satoyama”
FRIDAY, APRIL 7 • 11:45a-1:00p
EXPERIENCE: Life • Lifeworlds • Lifeworks
FRIDAY, APRIL 7 • 5:20-5:30p (introduction with Sadafumi Uchiyama)

Diane Durston is a writer, lecturer, and educator. Her work has been instrumental in expanding the Portland Japanese Garden’s reputation as a center of cultural learning and an international resource for all things Japanese. Since coming to the Garden in 2007, Durston has used her extensive background in Japanese art and culture to develop the Garden’s seasonal Art in the Garden series—hosting exhibitions of Japanese glass, ceramics, bamboo, metal, and more. A decade later, 2017 marks the opening of the Garden’s Cultural Crossing expansion project, which honors the beauty and tranquility of the five traditional gardens, and makes room to experience the essence of nature and spirit of peace.

Durston is author of Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life (Storey Publishing, 2006), a meditation on the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi that inspires daily life by cultivating an appreciation for everyday objects and imperfect beauty, and Old Kyoto: A Guide to Traditional Shops, Restaurants, and Inns [20th Anniversary Edition] in its 15th printing (Kodansha International, 1986/2013). She is coauthor of two additional books on Kyoto including, Kyoto: Seven Paths to the Heart of the City with Katsuhiko Mizuno (Kodansha Intl., 2014) and Kyoto: The Forest within the Gate with Edith Marcombe Shiffert, John Einarsen, Rona Conti, Marc P. Keane, and Takeda Yoshifumi (White Pine Press, 2014), as well as Japan: The Cycle of Life with John Bester, Juliet Winters Carpenter, Patricia Massy, Margaret Price, Mark Oshima and Patricia Fister, featuring a foreword by His Imperial Highness Prince Takamado (Kodansha Intl., 1997). She is also collaborator on Mottainai: The Fabric of Life: Lessons in Frugality from Traditional Japan with the Japanese Garden Society of Oregon (Gallery Kei & Sri at Portland Japanese Garden, 2011) and Japanese Crafts: A Complete Guide to Today’s Traditional Handmade Objects with the Japan Craft Forum [China] (Kodansha Intl., 2001).

In her role as an educator, she developed a program for K-12 teachers with workshops and teaching materials designed to focus on the Garden as a resource for teaching social studies, science, and art. Expanded cultural events at the Garden have also been a major part of Durtson’s contribution to the Garden’s increasing success. She has lectured widely in Japan, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. From 2002–2006, Durston was Director of Special Projects and later Curator of Education at the Portland Art Museum.