Who We Are
A message from our Executive Director.
Please allow me to introduce the Anime Art Museum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization spearheading the anime art movement and total anime arts learning center. The Anime Art Museum was created to advocate for recognition of Japanese anime as a legitimate art form. Although Japanese anime has existed in the public eye for over fifty years, it has not yet assumed its deserved place as a new mode of artistic expression. As an anime artist who started drawing at the age of six, I understand how detrimental the absence of anime arts learning can be for young artists. Creating these classes and resources is my passion–I want to make sure every new artist, no matter what age, has access to comprehensive anime art learning.
The task of educating on anime art begins with collecting and cataloguing works of anime art so that they may be learned from and their history preserved. Observing, studying, and frankly, enjoying anime and the culture presented therein has been my passion from a very young age. I have now the incredible opportunity to turn my passion into my work and make a change for the future of anime artists.
Anime, rich with Japanese culture, has successfully captivated its viewers with its unique style and has grown to allow for artists to share their own cultures. There is no better way to promote intercultural understanding than to nurture this contemporary form of personal expression and give its artists a voice.
Carmen “CJ” Marrero-Akin
Executive Director and Founder
Carmen Marrero-Akin has been drawing since 1997. As many young anime artists in the 1990s, Carmen was self-taught and learned the style by observation alone. Fan art and fan fiction became the foundation of her creativity, until finally she was making her own characters and stories inspired by the memorable storytelling style used in anime.
In 2007, Carmen was awarded the Youth For Understanding study abroad scholarship. Of the thirteen students selected from the United States, Carmen was the only applicant selected from Florida. She lived with a lovely host family for six months in Akita prefecture while attending an all-girls high school. She fell in love with the culture and the language and learned to speak Japanese in the 6 months she was there.
Carmen returned to the United States with half of her senior year of high school left, and in that time created many paintings chronicling her exposure to Japanese culture as experienced through anime and in person. Each piece visually captures modern elements of Japanese culture through traditional Japanese brush painting, as well as traditional elements of Japanese culture through modern illustrative techniques. This work became the very first pieces to be exhibited in the Anime Art Museum. Carmen’s art endeavors continued through college until she attended the University of Florida where she ultimately majored in Japanese and minored in TESOL. Once the opportunity to create the Anime Art Museum was in front of her, she dedicated her post-graduated life to bringing the vision of the museum to life.
While Carmen continues to pursue her anime art in her free time, she works full time as the ED of the Anime Art Museum, while also teaching the illustration courses offered therein.