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OrigamiUSA (sometimes abbreviated as "OUSA") is the largest origami organization in the United States, with offices located at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. It was founded in 1980 by Michael Shall, Alice Gray, and Lillian Oppenheimer as the Friends of the Origami Center of America and was renamed OrigamiUSA on July 1, 1994.[1] Since its founding, OrigamiUSA has been fully non-profit and volunteer-based and is a 501(c)(3) corporation. OrigamiUSA organizes the largest origami convention in the world each June in New York City, and in addition publishes a magazine, The Paper, an annual collection of origami diagrams, and a website, and also provides educational materials and supports numerous other activities that spread the art of origami.


The mission statement is the following: "OrigamiUSA's mission is to share the joy and appreciation of paperfolding, preserve its history, nurture its growth, bring people together, and encourage community among paperfolders."[2]

Services and activities[edit]

OrigamiUSA provides a variety of services to its members and to the world origami community:

  • Annual Convention[3]: typically held on the last full weekend of June at St. John's University in Queens, New York since 2016, Annual Convention is the largest origami convention in the world.[4] Prior venues were Fashion Institute of Technology and Manhattan College in New York City. It is attended by some 800 people each year and provides typically 30 parallel sessions of origami instructional classes for an entire weekend, as well as special seminars on design and folding techniques. Special guests attend every year from far off-places; previous guests include Kade Chan from Hong Kong,[5] Tomoko Fuse from Japan,[6] Nick Robinson from the United Kingdom,[7] and Toshikazu Kawasaki from Japan.[8]
  • The Paper[9]: the print magazine of OrigamiUSA, The Paper is published roughly quarterly for all members, contains articles about origami activities and new, unpublished diagrams. Members receive The Paper by mail.
  • The Fold[10]: the online magazine of OrigamiUSA, The Fold publishes continuously throughout the year, with new articles averaging once a week. OrigamiUSA publishes this magazine for members and visitors with a mix of members-only and open-access content consisting of articles, diagrams, videos, animations, and more.[11]
  • The Origami Collection: a book of diagrams published annually for the latest creations by folders from around the world.[12]
  • Special Folding Fun Sessions[13]: six one-day special sessions of origami instruction, held at the American Museum of Natural History. Each session is one day, with both morning and afternoon sessions.
  • The Source[14]: an online (or mail-in) origami one-stop shop, selling common and hard-to-find origami books, videos, CDs, paper and other supplies.
  • Reference Library: a visitation-only reference library, housed at the American Museum of Natural History, where rare and out-of-print materials may be examined.
  • Lending Library: A lending-by-mail library, whereby members can borrow origami books by mail for a nominal fee.
  • Origami by Children: an annual competition that allows children eighteen and under to submit their models for exhibition across the country. Children whose works are selected to be exhibited will win various prizes, including a free year's subscription to OrigamiUSA's print magazine, The Paper.
  • Holiday Tree[15]: a tree decorated with hundreds of origami figures sent in by OrigamiUSA members and origami aficionados from all over the world which is displayed in the rotunda of the American Museum of Natural History. which has become an annual tradition in New York City, each year decorated with hundreds of origami figures.
  • Website: OrigamiUSA's official website containing information about the organization, diagrams, and registration information for the various conventions and folding sessions sponsored by the organization.
  • Pacific Coast Origami Convention (PCOC):[16] held in odd-numbered years in various places along the West Coast of North America in concert with a local organizing origami group in the host city; convention site changes. Past convention locations include Phoenix, Vancouver, San Francisco, Bellevue, Albuquerque, and Boulder.[17]
  • World Origami Days[18]: a 2-1/2 week celebration of the international community of origami World Origami Days is held each year from October 24–November 11, with the goal of making origami as visible as possible by teaching a class, folding on the bus, giving origami to friends, exhibiting your models, etc. October 24 is the birthday of Lillian Oppenheimer (1898-1992), who founded the first origami group in America. She was also one of the founders of the British Origami Society and OrigamiUSA. A dynamic woman, she was delighted in the magic to be found in a piece of paper and wanted to share it with the world. November 11 is Origami Day in Japan, where the origami crane has become a symbol of peace.

Special Conventions[19]

OrigamiUSA has sponsored several conventions in the past on an irregular basis:

  • The 2nd Conference on Copyright in Origami in 2009 in New York City
  • The 4th International Conference on Origami in Science, Mathematics, and Education in 2006 in Pasadena, CA
  • The 3rd International Conference on Origami in Science, Mathematics, and Education in 2001 in Monterey, CA
  • The Conference on Origami in Education and Teaching (COET) in 1991 and 1995


The following is a list of OrigamiUSA's current standing committees, their chairpersons, and their purposes. Other committees are formed as needed. Committees are open to all members.[20]

Archives Committee[edit]

JC Nolan (Chair), Ruthanne Bessman, Josiah Jaggers, Marc Kirschenbaum.

Organizes and maintains the archives of OrigamiUSA. OrigamiUSA has a rich history that is full of amazing photographs, diagrams and models. The Archives Committee is responsible for the storage and cataloging of these materials.

Awards Committee[edit]

Rachel Katz (Chair), Patty Grodner, Judy Hall, Joel Stern, Susan Wettling.

Administers the awards given by OrigamiUSA. This committee solicits nominees and judges entries for the OrigamiUSA Teaching and Florence Temko Innovation awards. (The Michael Shall Volunteer Recognition Award is administered by the Board.)

Business Committee[edit]

Mark Kennedy (Co-chair), Jan Polish (Co-chair), Marc Kirschenbaum, Gay Merrill Gross, Ros Joyce, Maria Velazquez.

Sets policy and makes decisions regarding stock and operation of The Origami Source, which is managed by Mike and Janet Hamilton. The Business Committee is always looking for new and exciting additions to The Origami Source List.

Community Origami Groups Committee[edit]

Shrikant Iyer (Chair), Faye Goldman, Lori Gregory, Patty Grodner, Michael Montebello, Joel Stern.

This committee ensures that local area groups are listed on the website and assists members interested in establishing new groups.

Convention Committee[edit]

Jan Polish (Chair), Jean Baden-Gillette, Serena LaVine, Wendy Zeichner.

Subcommittee heads:

  • Housing (Martha Winslow-Cole),
  • Volunteers (Victoria Sheridan),
  • Teaching and Schedule (Serena LaVine, Jan Polish),
  • Exhibition (Ruthanne Bessman),
  • Silent Auction (Matthew Au),
  • First Timers (Delrosa Marshall),
  • On-Site Registration (Jean Rishel),
  • Ticketing (Wendy Zeichner),
  • Model Menu (Louise Oppenheimer-Flax),
  • Logistics (Jean Baden-Gillette, Mike Montebello, Mike Hamilton),
  • Venue Coordination and Catering (Jan Polish, Wendy Zeichner, Serena LaVine),
  • Hospitality (Susan Dugan),
  • Publicity (open),
  • The Source (Mike and Janet Hamilton),
  • Photography (Susan Dugan, Andrew Cribb),
  • Vendor Area (Mike Hamilton)
  • Oversize Folding (Sok Song)
  • Online Classes (Mary Drews, Kathleen Sheridan, Serena LaVine, Jan Polish)

Plans and directs OrigamiUSA's annual convention. 400+ people attend our convention each year, with 240+ classes in 30+ rooms, and 150+ volunteers who make it all happen. This committee organizes the activity, from recommending official guests to finalizing the schedule. In addition, many other people volunteer to support specific areas of responsibility for the convention.

Copyright Committee[edit]

Robert J. Lang (Chair), Jason Ku, Jan Polish.

Develops and maintains the copyright policies of OrigamiUSA. The committee works with our intellectual property lawyer to develop policies and permission forms that are consistent with U.S. and international copyright law protecting origami artworks, diagrams, and related works.

Development Committee[edit]

Wendy Zeichner (Chair), Jan Polish, Delrosa Marshall.

Develops and supports income-producing activities and to ensure they are within the mission statement of OrigamiUSA.

Elections Committee[edit]

Shrikant Iyer (Chair), Scott Cramer, Robert J. Lang, Michael Naughton, Wendy Zeichner.

Plans and coordinates the election of Board members. The Election Committee sends out the call for nominations, coordinates the statements of the candidates into an election mailing, and arranges for the counting of the votes by a non-Board member.

Exhibition Committee[edit]

Ruthanne Bessman, Talo Kawasaki, Delrosa Marshall, Elliot Zeichner.

The Exhibition Committee works on exhibition opportunities as they occur (including Origami by Children, see below). It is also responsible for maintenance and storage of our exhibition collection.

The Fold Committee[edit]

Jason Ku (Chair) and Patsy Wang-Iverson (Managing Editor), Editorial team.

Oversees the production and publication of OrigamiUSA's online magazine.

Fundraising Committee[edit]

Char Morrow (Chair), Patty Grodner, David Kandel, Marcio Noguchi, Wendy Zeichner.

Seeks opportunities and raises funds/resources through grants, corporate sponsorships and incentives for members and outside agencies.

Holiday Tree Committee[edit]

Ros Joyce (Co-designer), Talo Kawasaki (Co-designer), Jennifer Hou (Project Manager), Andrea Brecker.

Designs and implements the Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History. This committee solicits models and coordinates the installation of the Holiday Tree.

Annual Gift Committee[edit]

Jean Baden-Gillette (Chair).

Solicits models from members through provided diagrams, and distributes them as an Annual Gift for the Tree Lighting. It also provides special models for the 60 Museum Trustees.

Research/Reference Library Committee[edit]

Ros Joyce (Chair), Delrosa Marshall.

The Reference Library is housed in the Home Office of OrigamiUSA, and the committee is responsible for maintenance and storage, plus adding new books.

Lending Library Committee[edit]

deg farrelly (Chair)

The Lending Library provides borrowing access for our members. Information on items in the Lending Library collection is available here.

Online Presence (Website) Committee[edit]

Robert J. Lang (Chair/Managing Editor)

This committee is responsible for OrigamiUSA's websites, mailing lists, email, and other online services. Committee members and responsibilities are:

  • Webmaster/Managing Editor: Robert J. Lang
  • Website Sysadmins: Anne LaVin, Jim Weir
  • The Origami Source: Mike and Janet Hamilton
  • The Fold: Jason Ku, Patsy Wang-Iverson
  • Calendar: Faye Goldman
  • Facebook: Leyla Torres
  • Galleries: Norm Budnitz
  • Community Groups: open

Origami By Children Committee[edit]

Ruthanne Bessman (Chair), Andrea Brecker, Mary Gordon, Candace Paska.

This committee manages the annual Origami By Children exhibition. Every year, children (18 and under) send in models for a judged competition. The winning entries become part of an exhibition that is first displayed at Annual Convention and then travels around the United States to libraries and schools.

Origami Connect[edit]

Patty Grodner (Chair), Char Morrow, Marcio Noguchi, Kathleen Sheridan, Mary Drews, Jason Ku, Wendy Zeichner

Organizes and executes real-time online classes and events.

PCOC (Pacific Coast Origami Conference) Committee[edit]

Patty Grodner (Chair), Vicky Mihara Avery, Mary Drews, Lori Gregory, Mike Montebello, Jan Polish, Bunny Sanchez, Wendy Zeichner.

The Pacific Coast Origami Conference is held in (usually) odd-numbered years in venues on the West Coast of North America. Past conferences have included Boulder (2015), Albuquerque (2013), Bellevue (2011), San Francisco (1998, 2000, 2009), San Diego (2003), Phoenix (2005) and Vancouver (2007). The PCOC Committee works with a local sponsoring group to organize and manage the conference.

The Paper Committee[edit]

Laura Rozenberg (Chair/Managing Editor), Lanny Sherwin (Copy Editor), Wendy Zeichner.

Oversees the production and publication of OrigamiUSA's print magazine, The Paper. This committee is responsible for hiring and supervising the designer, Veronica Carman, for bringing in content, and for editorial decisions.

Publications Committee[edit]

Marc Kirschenbaum (Co-chair), Daniel Scher (Co-chair), Marcio Noguchi, JC Nolan, Omer Shalev, Nathan Zeichner.

This committee is responsible for OrigamiUSA's main publication, the Origami Collection, which comes out every June. The publications team also reviews and tests diagrams for The Paper.

Special Sessions Committee[edit]

Maria Velazquez (Co-Chair), Candace Paska (Co-Chair), Tony Cheng, MaryAnn Scheblein-Dawson, Annette Purnell, Wendy Zeichner.

Organizes and executes Special Folding Fun Sessions.

Volunteer Appreciation Committee[edit]

Patty Grodner (Chair), Jean Baden-Gillette, Andrea Brecker, Victoria Sheridan, Wendy Zeichner.

Develops activities to recognize the contributions of our volunteers.

World Origami Days Committee[edit]

Marcio Noguchi (Chair), Ruthanne Bessman, Maria Velazquez.

World Origami Days encourages events to recognize this international celebration of origami, by maintaining and updating the World Origami Days website.

Board of directors[21][edit]

The OrigamiUSA Board of Directors is elected annually, with members serving staggered two-year terms. Elections occur in the weeks leading up to Annual Convention, with results announced during the Annual Meeting, which occurs during Annual Convention.

Current board officers (2016) are:

  • Chair: Marcio Noguchi
  • Vice Chair: Patty Grodner
  • Treasurer: Jason Ku
  • Secretary: Char Morrow
  • President/CEO: Wendy Zeichner

Current board members (2017) are:

  • Patty Grodner (2016–2018)
  • David Kandel (2016–2018)
  • Marc Kirschenbaum (2016–2018)
  • Char Morrow (2016–2018)
  • Marcio Noguchi (2016–2018)
  • Michael Montebello (2016–2018)
  • Jason Ku (2017–2019)
  • Kathleen Sheridan (2015–2017)
  • Sunil Dhavalikar (2017-2019)
  • Wendy Zeichner (ex officio)

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "History | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  2. ^ "Mission and Values | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  3. ^ "Conventions | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  4. ^ "Conventions | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  5. ^ "Convention 2016 | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  6. ^ "Convention 2016 | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  7. ^ "Convention 2014 | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  8. ^ "Convention 2011 | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  9. ^ "The Paper | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  10. ^ "Recent Articles | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  11. ^ "Publications | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  12. ^ "The Origami Collection | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  13. ^ "Special Folding Fun Sessions | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  14. ^ "Catalog | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  15. ^ "Origami Holiday Tree | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  16. ^ "Conventions | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  17. ^ "Convention Archives | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  18. ^ "World Origami Days | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  19. ^ "Conventions | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  20. ^ "Who's Who in OrigamiUSA | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  21. ^ "Who's Who in OrigamiUSA | OrigamiUSA". origamiusa.org. Retrieved 2017-06-25.

External links[edit]