Art Gallery

Current Show: Maki Aizawa

We are delighted to be hosting an exhibition of works by Maki Aizawa through September 2019. 

Maki Aizawa is a multifaceted artist and producer with a passion for Japan, her native land. She grew up in Sendai, in the north of Japan, and from her earliest years was immersed in the traditions of Japanese arts and culture. Her parents ran a kimono-making school and she remembers a childhood with hundreds of “aunties” –- the students who were living with them during their five-year apprenticeships to become licensed. It was only natural that Maki also studied many of the other time-honored Japanese expressive arts, including ikebana (floral design), shodo (calligraphy), and the koto (traditional stringed musical instrument).

After high school, Maki came to the United States to continue her education and graduated with a degree in Art History from San Francisco State University. Using her ikebana training as a foundation, she established her own Sonoma-based business called Viola Floral Design, blending Japanese and western styles to create exquisite floral arrangements for weddings and winery events throughout the Bay Area for more than fifteen years.
The devastation of the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 to Maki’s home district of Sendai, was a pivotal moment for her. Ever since, she has been committed to fostering collaborations between foreign artists and American local communities and creating workshops where Americans can have a hands-on experience with the art forms and techniques used by these foreign artists and artisans.

Her goal is to build community locally and globally, using the arts to bring people together. With her admiration and appreciation of the history of Japanese traditions and skills, Maki approaches each art form as one to be preserved, sustained, and to be reincarnated in new ways.

The Senninbari Project is working to help rebuild lives. Senninbari means “Thousand Person Stitches”. After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated part of her home region, Maki and her mother, Tsuyo Onodera, created a project to bring together women who had lost everything and teach them sewing skills so they could have a source of income, but even more importantly a connection with others.

For this installation, artist Maki Aizawa searched for a way to illustrate the traditional Japanese belief that a fabric sewn by many people becomes an amulet, protecting the wearer from danger and clothing them in prayers. This installation is constructed with one hundred and eight pieces of handmade Kozo paper, which was hand-stitched with silk weaving thread by thirty-five Tohoku women.

Under the canopy of this paper fabric with its ethereal protective qualities, Maki will be presenting the collaborated art pieces from the Senninbari project and a wide range of Japanese arts for the Sonoma Academy gallery.

The Art Gallery

Since the inception of the school, before we even had a proper gallery space, we have had professional artists showing, lecturing, and giving class demonstrations. We believe that exposure to the arts is an inherent part of education, and therefore, expose students to a variety of artists and styles that are not typically shown in Sonoma county. Over the last 14 years we have shown a diverse group of artists from all over the world including: Pakistan, Tibet, Sweden, Germany, England, France, Russia, Mexico, Bosnia, the Philippines, Iran, and Cuba as well as local Bay area artists. We have partnered with the San Francisco Art Institute and the Chalk Hill Artist Residency and will be showing some of the artists selected through their program.

Gallery Guidelines

The Sonoma Academy Gallery looks for original artwork that takes an innovative approach and shows a sophisticated execution. Chosen artists should enhance the arts curriculum. Established and emerging artists interested in showing are encouraged to look over these guidelines.

Shows are generally up for two months unless another arrangement has been made between the artist and the school. In exchange for showing and taking no sales commission we require all artists to give a lecture or class demo. A stipend of $60 is provided for a class demo or short lecture.

Artists are responsible for hanging and taking down their own shows after 3:30 pm on weekdays or on the weekend as arranged between the artist and the school. Please bring your own hanging supplies. A dolly is available to transport the work from your car up to the gallery.

It is suggested that artists create their own labels, which include the name of the piece, medium, date, price, and artist contact information. Otherwise a binder with the same information can be left on the gallery table.

If something sells, the purchasing party will contact the artist directly to arrange the sale. The school takes no commission.

Gallery Size
Dimensions of the wall space: 
  • Two walls are 6' 8” 
  • One wall is 10’ 5”
  • One wall is 8’ 7”
  • One wall is 33’ 10”
  • One wall is 3’
Please submit a link to your website or blog for consideration and send it to Hillary Younglove. Shows are booked one year in advance.

Sonoma Academy Is...

The only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, Sonoma Academy students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.