CHICAGO – University of Illinois Professor Emeritus Shozo Sato will kick off the Art Institute of Chicago summer celebration with an evening demonstration of ikebana – Japanese floral arranging – on Thursday.
Sato will create several arrangements as he teaches the philosophy underlying the ancient and contemporary practice.
The program begins at 6 p.m. in Fullerton Hall in the museum and is free to all.
The Sato event will jump-start the museum's Target Free Summer Evenings on Thursdays and Fridays through June, July and August. On those two evenings, the Art Institute will offer extended evening hours – until 9 p.m. with free admission after 5 p.m. both days. Target is the sponsor.
Sato, an internationally known theater director and master of Zen arts, was the first theater artist to fuse Shakespeare and Kabuki, doing that while he was at the UI. He first came to the university in 1964 as an artist in-residence and was then appointed to the faculty of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, where he established a new curriculum in traditional Japanese arts such as tea ceremony, flower arranging and calligraphy.
In 1969, Sato was appointed artist in-residence at Krannert Center, where he established the Illinois Kabuki Theatre. His fusion of Western and traditional Japanese theater received national attention and critical acclaim.
While at the UI, Sato also helped found the Japan House, a cultural and teaching facility on South Lincoln Avenue in Urbana. After retiring in 1992 from the university, he moved to Fort Bragg, Calif., to establish the Center for Japanese Arts in Northern California. He is visiting professor of Japanese arts at Northwestern University.
As part of Target Free Summer Evenings, the Art Institute's Garden Restaurant will have live music on Thursday and Friday evenings. To complement its extended hours those days, the museum added lectures and gallery walks, family activities, a light menu at the Garden Restaurant and live music al fresco in McKinlock Court.
Those events will include museum educators showcasing works around a particular theme at 5:30 p.m., while visitors may learn about highlights of the museum's permanent collection at 7 p.m. The Target Free Summer Evenings will conclude Aug. 29.
On select Saturdays this summer, the museum also will host on its front steps live musicians and performers.
Summer hours at the museum, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, are 10:30 a.m. to 5: p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is $12 for adults, $7 for children 12 and older, students and senior citizens and free for children younger than 12 and members. The free evenings are free to all except for certain special exhibitions that may require a full or extra admission fee.
For information, visit on-line www.artinstitutechicago. org.