Wakamatsu through artists’ eyes

wakaCarlotta Tormey - Preparing Tea at Veercamp


The Gold Country Artists Gallery, 379 Main St. in Placerville, is featuring a special exhibit during May — “The Wakamatsu Art Show” through June 2. Hours are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

Twenty-two gallery members — photographers, painters and three-dimensional artists spent two days on the grounds of the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony, now owned by the American River Conservancy.

The artists went to observe and photograph and be inspired by the beautiful vistas of the property, the old farm buildings, the lake and pond and create pieces of art from their observations of the scenery and atmosphere of the day.

The show in the gallery runs through June 2. The exhibit includes original paintings, photographs, three-dimensional art, prints and cards.

For one day, on Saturday, May 18, in collaboration with the American River Conservancy, the special show will be moved to the Wakamatsu Tea Colony site, 941 Cold Springs Road in Placerville, during the American River Conservancy’s Wakamatsu Festival.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $20 per person. There will be other events related to Wakamatsu in addition to food and music at the event.

According to Lisa Aikenhead, the gallery member spearheading the show, “The American River Conservancy purchased the site now known as the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony in 2010.

The Wakamatsu Colony comprises 272 acres of natural beauty, with a lake and ponds, an 1854 farmhouse, and a small dairy farm built at the turn of the century. It’s historically important because it is the home of the first Japanese settlement in North America.

The property includes the headstone of Okei Ito, the first Japanese citizen to be buried in the United States.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui has said that to many Japanese Americans, the Wakamatsu Colony is as symbolic as Plymouth Rock was for the first American colonists.

“The Tea and Silk Colony does not exist as it did in the mid 1800s but the old farm house and barn and the grave of Okei San are still maintained. There are docent tours, through the American River Conservancy, that bring the history to life.

The art show will be returned to the Gold Country Artists Gallery in the evening for Third Saturday Art Walk, May 18 from 6 to 9 p.m.

In addition to the Wakamatsu Art Show, Gold Country Gallery will be featuring two artists during the month of May. Linda Soos and her unique free form nature inspired stained glass and the colorful high dynamic range blended photography of Soroush Mostafanejad, with a reception for them during Third Saturday Art Walk.

For more information call 530-642-2944 or go to the Website or

Gold Country Artists Gallery

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