The Magnificent Tiger Ball and Fort Bend Supporters Celebrate Japan

The Asia Society Texas Center.

The Asia Society Texas Center.

By Zeenat Kassam Mitha –

The diversity and culture of Fort Bend residents was evident at The Asia Society Texas Center Tiger Ball as so many supported the event by celebrating Japan in the beautiful landmark building. The Tiger Ball sold out this year, well in advance, and 100 seats were added to accommodate the community-at-large. “Our membership has grown over three times in the last year,” commented Board Member Nancy Allen.

Fort Bend, which has a large Asian population, has many residents who have seen the value of being a member or partnering with The Asia Society Texas Center for its programs. “Some of the most coveted programs, speakers, entertainment and learning about Asian cultures happen here,” said Board Member Y. Ping Sun. “It is no wonder that Fort Bend residents flock in large numbers to programs associated with The Asia Society Texas Center.”

The ethnic attire, from various countries, created a colorful medley of all things Asian. This year, The Tiger Ball celebrated Japan. The evening began with fresh sushi, steak tetaki skewers and lamb “Turbans” with pinenuts and continued with an array of divine delights that could only be found in the most coveted restaurants serving a Japanese dinner. Cherry blossoms were everywhere, in all rooms, in the gallery and in the outside reception area welcoming guests with their beauty, simplicity and fragrant smell. The chairs of the event this year, Glen Yoshiaki Gondo and Donna Fujimoto Cole, expressed their need to make everyone feel like they were experiencing Japan.

Ike and Zeenat Mitha at The Asia Society Texas Center Tiger Ball.

Ike and Zeenat Mitha at The Asia Society Texas Center Tiger Ball.

It was back in 1995 when The Asia Society Texas Center’s Board of Directors voted to build a home for its programs. At that time, the offices were housed in a rental facility. Renowned Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi was selected by the Board to design the building, which is now located in the Houston’s Museum District. Taniguchi is best-known in the United States for his renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The building was completed in early fall 2011. The 40,000-square-foot Center features the 273-seat Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater, Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery, Edward Rudge Allen III Education Center, Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall and more. It opened to the public April 14, 2012.

“This magnificent center is the bridge for connecting all Asian Cultures housed under one roof,” stated Chairman Charles Foster.

The community from Fort Bend that supports the Center does so to enrich learning for themselves and for others. Every Asian culture can send proposals for exhibitions, programs and events. Schedules are also usually determined 12 to 36 months in advance. There are also event rooms that can be rented at the Center. There are a high number of proposals and requests for rentals, so they are looked at very thoroughly.

The history of The Asia Society began with the foresight of Houstonians headed by former First Lady Barbara Bush and former Ambassador Roy M. Huffington, who established The Asia Society Texas Center in 1979. Understanding the vision of John D. Rockefeller, III, the founder of Asia Society New York in 1956, they recognized the need to educate Americans about Asia and create closer ties between Houston and the peoples and institutions of Asia. With 11 centers across the globe, The Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education and policy, the Society provides insight, generates ideas and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future.

One of the best things about The Asia Society Texas Center is that it is an affiliate of the Asia Society global network. “Since the opening of the Texas Center, Asia Society has taken its place as a major educational and cultural institution in the region, the driving force in transforming Greater Houston into an Asia-Pacific city,” said Executive Director Bonna Kol.

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