I went to Japan for a residency in 2007 and was so gratified to be in a country where pottery is respected as a fine art. My former host, Ryoji Matsumiya, runs a production pottery along with his many other artistic and business endeavors. Thankfully, his business was only superficially affected by the earthquake, and he and his staff immediately jumped into the relief efforts by pledging 15,000 handmade cups to the people who have lost everything. You can read about what they are doing and see their progress right here.
For me, I get overwhelmed by these disasters. The need is so large and I feel so small, and I always wonder about donating to big charities where the cost of their overhead can eat up so much of the donation. I was directed to the Mashiko Potters Fund by another ACGA member, where money is being raised by a gallery in Boston and sent directly to a group of artists in Japan to help them rebuild their kilns and pottery. I felt that my contribution, while small, was going to people who really needed every dollar, and would put it to immediate use. Perhaps more of our members know of other places to donate, where the money goes directly to those in need? If so, please post it on our Facebook page to help spread the word.