DES MOINES, Iowa — During his time in office, there's a lot that former Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray was known for. One of the most enduring parts of his legacy was his approach to welcoming Asian refugees to the Hawkeye State, and that's exactly what the Greater Des Moines Botanical garden wants to share with visitors.
On Sunday, October 16, visitors got a hands-on lesson in crossing cultural boundaries through folded paper.
"They learn to be precise, they learn to be patient with yourself," said Yoko Tanaka, Executive Director of the Japan Society of Iowa.
The origami crash course was part of the garden's "The Ray Way" series of events, helping highlight Asian influence in Iowa. And what better way to do that than by learning something new?
"I have been trying to do my best to be a bridge between two cultures, so every chance I get if there is a paper, I always did the origami classes," Tanaka said.
Origami wasn't the only draw; the garden is also displaying a collection of paintings and other art pieces from local Asian artists. The event series is a way to share history and emotions through art—that's something that truly transcends cultural differences.
"It is just wonderful to see that something blossoms. And that doesn't have to be Japanese all the time. It happens to be Japanese because I am sharing. But that happens in any culture, and I truly enjoy experiencing that," Tanaka said.
The final celebration of the Ray Way series is planned for October 28 at 5:00 p.m.