Exhibition Program

Exhibits are a valuable part of the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego's (JFGSSD’s) outreach and educational programming. Exhibits preserve, promote and educate visitors about Japan’s artistic and cultural heritage and community legacy; foster artistic and cultural exchange among people of diverse backgrounds; and provides opportunity for public dialogue and artistic expression. Exhibits also encourage collaborative projects with organizations within and outside of the community.

The JFGSSD hosts a variety of exhibits including the works of emerging and established artists, private collections, selected examples from the JFGSSD permanent collection, traveling exhibits and submission-based exhibits. Located in the heart of the City’s premier cultural center, Balboa Park, the Japanese Friendship Garden attracts roughly 4,000 – 6,000 local (50%) and international (50%) visitors per month making it an ideal location to exhibit. 

The JFGSSD encourages interested artists/groups/organizations to apply for our exhibitions program. Exhibits in the JFGSSD will be selected with reference to the Exhibits Policy, Mission Statement, and Goals Statements. Exhibit spaces are made available, in accordance with these Guidelines, to diverse individuals, groups, and organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad. All media is eligible for consideration. Applicants do not need to be of Japanese descent and are not restricted to Japanese or Japanese style collections.

The following criteria apply as exhibit proposals are considered. Although not all exhibits will meet all criteria, the proposed collection must demonstrate at least one of the first two criteria for consideration. The JFGSSD reserves the right to approve or disapprove all exhibit requests, to have final approval for the layout of the exhibit, and to make all decisions regarding length of exhibit duration, placement of the exhibit, and content of publicity. Exhibitors with high costs for installation or transportation should consult with the Exhibit Coordinator prior to applying.

Please contact Emiko Scudder at (619) 232-2784 x 1504 or registrar@niwa.org for more information on the application process. 


  • Promotes understanding of Japanese art, culture, heritage, and/or history through the appropriateness of subject, technique, and/or style (required)

  • Enhances the JFGSSD’s mission and evokes the spirit of the Japanese Friendship Garden (required)

  • Educational content ranging from artistic technique and development to historical information

  • Ability to provide additional activities (i.e. workshop, lecture, and/or demonstration)

  • Reflects vitality and originality of artistic expression

  • Ease and cost of installation

  • Has relevance to JGSSD special events, cultural holidays, annual programming, and/or relation to other events or exhibits in the community

  • Satisfies public safety regulations

  • Exhibitor agrees to submit and sign an exhibit proposal with the JFGSSD

Process for proposing an exhibit at the JFGSSD:

1.    Exhibitor contacts the JFGSSD (619-232-2721 x 1504 or registrar@niwa.org), receives information from Exhibit Coordinator, and reviews the JFGSSD Exhibit Guidelines.

2.    Exhibitor completes the Exhibit Proposal Form 

3.    Exhibitor must send the proposal to the Exhibit Coordinator to:

Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego
Attn. Emiko Scudder
2125 Park Blvd. Ste. 2
San Diego, CA 92101

4.    The JFGSSD Arts & Culture Committee approves or rejects proposal in a timely manner, based on the Exhibit Criteria for Selection and/or schedule. Exhibitors are notified via letter. The Arts and Culture Committee will do its best to match your first or second choice; however, placement in your preferred slot is not guaranteed. Exhibit rotation schedules are planned at least one year in advance with four to five exhibits per year. Each exhibit is a two to three month commitment. Exhibitor is contacted with the result. Termination of signed contract at least six months prior to the start of the exhibition date for the Exhibit Hall space and at least one year prior for the Pavilion space will result in a $250 and $500 cancellation fee, respectively.

5.    If approved, the JFGSSD issues the Exhibit Contract and Loan Agreement.

The Exhibit Contract outlines the following conditions:

a.    Donation of either $100, or the purchase of a 1-year ‘Supporter’ level membership valued at $125

b.   Should any of the artwork exhibited at the JFGSSD be sold, a 15 – 25% commission applies will be negotiated with the Exhibitor

*Exhibit Contract must be signed six months prior to start of exhibit.

*Loan Agreement must be signed prior to start of exhibit.

6.    Exhibitor is added to the JFGSSD rotation schedule and calendar.

7.    Detailed follow-up discussions with the exhibitor takes place six to three months prior to the start of exhibition.


The JFGSSD has two exhibit locations. The exhibitor is strongly encouraged to visit these locations prior to applying. Though the exhibitor may note on the application a preference for exhibit space, the Pavilion will be reserved for large or special exhibitions. The JFGSSD reserves the right to place exhibitors accordingly.

Exhibit Hall:

The Exhibit Hall is located in the upper garden between the Front Entrance and Koi Pond. The Exhibit Hall’s second room overlooks the Stone Garden and koi pond. Three fixed display cases are along the walls and eight cabinets with 16 adjustable glass shelves are available. The Exhibit Hall is lit with LED lights. Light weight objects may be hung in the large wall display cases and cabinets; however, further discussion should be made with the Exhibit Coordinator.  Basic black 12” x 12” surface stands are available in various heights: 48” H (4); 30” H (2); 36” H (5); (2) 24” H (3).


The Pavilion is located in the canyon and overlooks a large pond. The Pavilion is approximately 3,400 square feet with a center partition for smaller exhibition space and overhead track lighting. Free standing display cases in various sizes are available.


Exhibitors applying outside of San Diego are encouraged to consult with the Exhibit Coordinator before applying to review and discuss the capacity of the JFGSSD beforehand. International exhibitors must keep the following in mind when applying:

  • The exhibitor is responsible for arranging and covering expenses for the round trip shipment of the collection. The JFGSSD is not responsible for any loss or damage during transport.

  • Exhibitor must provide for their own travel and accommodation expenses.

  • Exhibitor must be physically present, or have a physical party present to install and dismantle the exhibit.

  • If the Exhibitor is unable to be present for the reception, the JFGSSD reserves the right to cancel the reception.

  • Exhibitor is responsible for providing a translator, if necessary for the Opening Reception and any correlating programming.

  • Exhibitor must have their collection insured either through their personal insurance, or the Garden’s policy, which holds up to $10,000 in coverage.

Banner Photo Credit: Dominic Nepomuceno