UNIQLO and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Announce 10-Year Partnership Supporting Japanese Art and Culture

Apparel Retailer will Collaborate with MFA on Family Programs, Film Festival and Educational Activities in Boston

BOSTON (September 15, 2017)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and UNIQLO USA today announced a 10-year partnership that will support a variety of new programs highlighting Japanese art and culture. Through the collaboration, the MFA is developing a range of initiatives this fall and winter, including Saturday morning art-making sessions for families, December School Vacation Week activities and The Boston Festival of Films from Japan (BFFJ). A longtime supporter of arts and culture, UNIQLO became part of the Boston community in spring 2015 when six new locations opened in the area, including a flagship store on Newbury Street. The MFA partnership is the latest for the Japan-based company, which currently supports art and culture initiatives worldwide. The Museum’s ties to Japan date to 1890, when the MFA became the first museum in America to establish a Japanese collection and appoint a curator specializing in Japanese art. Today, the Museum’s collection of Japanese art is celebrated as the finest outside of Japan. The UNIQLO partnership also underscores MFA 2020, the Museum’s three-year strategic plan that creates a road map for the future, fostering new connections between the Museum, the city of Boston and the global art community. Japanese Programs at the MFA are generously supported in part by UNIQLO USA.

“By partnering with UNIQLO, the Museum is positioned to strengthen and enhance our long history with Japan in new and exciting ways,” said Katie Getchell, Chief Brand Officer and Deputy Director at the MFA. “Public programs available both at the Museum and in UNIQLO stores will offer the opportunity to engage new audiences with the vibrant legacy of Japanese art and culture.”

“For many years, UNIQLO has enjoyed a close relationship with the arts and we look forward to welcoming a new chapter that will foster art education and special programming for MFA’s patrons and the greater Boston-area community,” said Justin Kerr, Director of Brand Partnerships, UNIQLO. “While we remain a globally minded company, we are also proud to be paying homage to our Japanese heritage through this meaningful partnership.”

A highlight of the partnership between the MFA and UNIQLO is “Junior Artists,” a new series of Saturday drop-in activities at the Museum. Created for children aged 5-8 and their families, these events will look at fundamental principles in art with MFA educators. Free with admission, the sessions (10:30 am–12:30 pm) will explore different art concepts, guiding children through an art-making activity that builds on the techniques and craftsmanship found on view at the MFA. October through January, sessions will focus on Japanese art and culture seen in Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics—a collaboration with the great Japanese art historian Professor Nobuo Tsuji and the MFA—and Showdown! Kuniyoshi vs. Kunisada, an exhibition featuring colorful works by rival artists Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861) and Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1864). Additionally this fall, in-store art-making activities at UNIQLO locations in Massachusetts will engage staff and shoppers in the art of these two exhibitions and more. Beginning at UNIQLO’s Faneuil Hall and Newbury Street locations on September 16, the Saturday activities will be led by UNIQLO staff trained by MFA educators. Subsequent art-making activities will be held again at Faneuil Hall on September 23; Newbury Street on September 30; Natick Mall on October 14; Northshore Mall (Salem) on October 28; Chestnut Hill Mall on November 4; and Legacy Place Mall (Dedham) on November 11. The series will continue at UNIQLO locations in November and December.

The partnership kicks off this September following the opening of Showdown! Kuniyoshi vs. Kunisada, which will be highlighted by an interactive brochure, available on-site at the Museum and at UNIQLO locations in Massachusetts. The brochure will present triptychs by each artist in mixed-up fashion, requiring “re-assembly” of the images and inviting readers to observe color, pattern, shape and narrative.

Upcoming collaborations also include the Museum’s annual School Vacation Week in December, which will feature a variety of art-making activities, including multiple events highlighting traditional themes and motifs in Japanese art. The partnership continues in February 2018 with The Boston Festival of Films from Japan (BFFJ) at the MFA, featuring 10 Japanese films including Jellyfish Eyes (2013), Murakami’s directorial debut; Kōji Fukada’s Harmonium (2016), an elegant drama that won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival; Resistance at Tule Lake (2017), a documentary on Japanese Americans who resisted World War II internment; and Tokyo Idols (2017), an eye-opening film that gets at the heart of a cultural phenomenon driven by an obsession with young female sexuality and internet popularity. Additional programmatic, promotional and collection-based collaborations are in the works for the months and years ahead.

UNIQLO is a champion of arts and culture, and it sponsors a number of museums, including Museum of Modern Art (NY), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), Tate Modern (London) and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow). At MoMA, UNIQLO sponsors free Friday night entry for visitors and features select artists from the collection on apparel. At the ICA, UNIQLO supported teen programs and the Museum’s community day in celebration of its 10-year anniversary.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of the Ancient World; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–10 pm. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25), while five Open Houses offer the opportunity to visit the Museum for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit mfa.org or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

UNIQLO is a brand of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a leading global Japanese retail holding company that designs, manufactures and sells clothing under seven main brands: Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse tam.tam, Theory, and UNIQLO. With global sales of approximately 1.7864 trillion yen for the 2016 fiscal year ending August 31, 2016 (US $17.31 billion, calculated in yen using the end of August 2016 rate of $1 = 103.2 yen), Fast Retailing is the world’s third largest apparel retail companies, and UNIQLO is Japan’s leading specialty retailer. With a corporate statement committed to changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and change the world, Fast Retailing is dedicated to creating great clothing with new and unique value to enrich the lives of people everywhere.

UNIQLO continues to open large-scale stores in some of the world's most important cities and locations, as part of its ongoing efforts to solidify its status as a truly global brand. Today the company has more than 1,800 stores in 18 markets worldwide including Japan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, U.K. and the U.S.In addition, Grameen UNIQLO, a social business established in Bangladesh in September 2010, currently operates several Grameen UNIQLO stores in Dhaka. For more information about UNIQLO and Fast Retailing, please visit www.uniqlo.com and www.fastretailing.com.



Karen Frascona