In late October 1996, Yuko Nii founded the non-profit The WAH Center (Williamsburg Art & Historical Center) based upon her Bridge Concept. That concept envisions a multifaceted, multicultural art center whose mission is to coalesce the diverse artistic community, and create a bridge between local, national and international artists, emerging and established artists, and artists of all disciplines. Thus through the international language of art we come to understand each other to create a more peaceful and integrated world. The WAH Center is a force for peace and understanding and it’s concept is incorporated in its acronym: “WAH” in Japanese means “peace” or “harmony” or “unity.”
Yuko also wanted to preserve the WAH Center’s building, a French Second Empire masterpiece, and make it a functional part of the cultural community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
In 1997, Terrance Lindall created the President's Club at the WAH Center and the "Williamsburg Circle" of scholars, artists, philosophers, curators. theater people, scientists and engineers to put forth new ideas on the intersection of these subjects in the latter part of the 20th Century. Papers were written by members including Adam Oranchak, Travis Stewart, Yuko Nii and others. Terrance wrote his "Epistemological Movement in the Arts" essay for the Circle. The Presidents' Club of the WAH Center held dinners in honor of outstanding figures in the arts, including Bill Bace, publisher of REVIEW magazine (now defunct), which held a prestigious position in the field of art criticism in New york City at the time. At the dinner for Bill Bace, over 100 NYC art critics attended and Goveror George Pataki wrote a letter of appreciation to the WAH Center commending Bill Bace for his outstanding achievments in the arts. Subsequently,In 2001, Governor George Pataki named Yuko Nii one of “New York States’ Women of the Year”, and called her a “Woman of Excellence with Vision and Courage.” He also congratulated Nii on turning the historic Kings County Savings Bank Building into a multipurpose art center that serves the needs of artists and art aficionados of diverse backgrounds.
Mission of the Williamsburg Circle
The Williamsburg Circle of International Arts and letters is a program of the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center (WAH Center). The Circle serves as a hub for discussion of new ideas about diverse subject matters. It is especially keen to point up intersections in areas of study that on first glance appear to be contradictory, especially in the areas of art and literature. Observations on the human experience in a receptive individual can sometimes evoke intuitive leaps of creativity, bringing forth new ideas in science, philosophy, literature and the arts. We hope to encourage this.
We believe that a strong education in the classical humanities is a fundamental prerequisite for good citizenship in every country in the world today. What is Classical Humanities? It is nothing less than the spiritual, ethical and intellectual foundation for Western culture. Classics are a vibrant, interdisciplinary field that lies at the heart of the liberal arts. It is the lack of a common heritage and common values that gives rise to basic conflicts among peoples. A broad education in the classical humanities can bring about a common understanding and a common set of values.
Our outstanding members serve as inspiration to young scholars whose concepts are forming and who are or will be developing projects important to our 21st century civilization.
Motto of the Williamsburg Circle:
"Fidem Fati Virtue