“Our lives revolve around the arts, and we want to share that love with younger generations."
The Asian Art Museum holds a special place in the hearts of Jean and Jerry Byma. They met at a concert of modern Japanese music at the museum on Feb. 23, 1986, and married later that year.
The Bymas are longtime supporters of the museum that played a significant role in their lives. They are museum members and they also contributed to the For All Campaign — you can see a tile with their names on the Community Donor Wall.
“We both believe in education and decided to contribute to the transformation project after we learned about the museum’s plans to expand its teaching of Asian cultures to Bay Area kids,” says Jerry.
“Our lives revolve around the arts — museums, concerts, ballet, theater — and we want to share that love with younger generations,” says Jean. “Through the arts, we learn about different cultures, history, and humanity. The arts widen our vision of the world.”
When the Bymas visit the museum, they are always sure to visit the South Asian galleries – Jerry was fascinated by the Indian temples he visited while working in Asia for Hewlett Packard – and Japanese ceramics and baskets. “I like to explore things related to my Japanese heritage,” says Jean, a third-generation Japanese American and retired nurse and career counselor. They also try to see every special exhibition – Awaken was a recent favorite – and explore the contemporary exhibitions and installations to see what today’s artists are up to.
While the Bymas appreciated the high quality of the museum’s online offerings during the pandemic, they are happy to be able to visit in person once again. They especially look forward to attending more museum events. After all, it’s how their story began.
What’s your story? We love hearing from members about the role the museum has played in their lives. Email your stories to [email protected].
Image: Jean Byma, with her husband Jerry, pointing out their tile on the Community Donor Wall during the For All Campaign Community Wall Donor Celebration, Jul. 21, 2021. © Katelyn Tucker Photography.