Join Us for Our Founders' Dinner, November 18

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Join us for an evening of cocktails, dinner, and live entertainment as we pay tribute to the groups and individuals who first brought the Garden to life.

Festivities will be held at the Renaissance Downtown Phoenix Hotel, located at 100 N 1st St.

Click here for sponsorship opportunities or contact Tonia Smith Development & Membership Coordinator at 602-274-8700 x101 or at

Guests & Entertainment


Naoko 尚子

Naoko was born in Kobe and raised in Himeji, Japan, the sister city of Phoenix. She was a goodwill ambassador from Himeji to the U.S. for Girl Scouts Camp in 1976, with a message of friendship from the Mayor of Himeji. 

With extensive training in the classical Japanese arts of music and dance, in particular, the Nogawa-style jiuta Shamisen and Ikuta-style  Koto, Naoko has been performing in the U.S. since 1994. She was taught koto and shamisen by Koji Kikuhara who was a highly ranked student of National Living treasure Hatsuko Kikuhara.

Sawako Ama 安満沙和子

Sawako is an international performing artist based in Sacramento, California. She was surrounded by traditional ritual and ceremonial music and dances when growing up in a Buddhist temple in Kagoshima, as the daughter of two Buddhist priest parents, in the south part of Japan.  She studied Gagaku, Japanese temple/shrine/court music while she attended university in Kyoto. Her interest in traditional performing arts lead to studying various Japanese performing arts such as Noh, Kagura (a temple/shrine dance), Japanese classical dance, folkloric ritual dances and Taiko drumming.   She also has been studying sacred ritual music and dances from all over the world.  She also performs in the duo, Kohaku, a Traditional and Contemporary Japanese performing arts ensemble.


Dr. Kendall Brown

Kendall Brown is Professor of Asian Art History at California State University Long Beach. He holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Yale University and an MA from UC Berkeley. A former museum curator, he publishes actively in several areas of Japanese art and has organized exhibitions for several American museums, exploring topics from modern woodblock prints to Art Deco.   


He is a leading figure in the study of Japanese gardens in North America, having published the books, Japanese-style Gardens of the Pacific West Coast (Rizzoli, 1999), Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America (Tuttle, 2012), Visionary Landscapes (Tuttle, 2016) and various essays on the social history of these gardens. 

Mariachi Chapala

@Mariachichapalaaz is a local mariachi band that performs across the valley performing at events of all scales and sizes. Listen to their performance during our cocktail hour on the terrace of the Phoenix Renaissance Hotel before our Founders' Dinner.


...and more!

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Participate in our Silent Auction 

Bid on unique Japanese items, gift packages, and VIP experiences provided by our local partners, including a roundtrip to a global destination. Take this opportunity to visit one of our sister cities like Himeji, Japan!


Enjoy Hand-crafted Food and Drink

Enjoy an elaborate menu provided by the Phoenix Renaissance Hotel that mixes the best parts of Japanese and Phoenician cuisine.

The menu highlights Ahi tacos, Braised beef short ribs, herb buttered salmon, and a lemon tart with prickly pear meringue!

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