In the Toride Art Project (TAP) Toride residents, Toride City, and the Tokyo University of the Arts have been working together since 1999. TAP aims to develop Toride as a cultural city by supporting young artists in their practice and disseminating their work, as well as providing residents with various opportunities to interact with art.
We have alternately held two major programs every other year, an exhibition of artworks chosen through a nationwide competition, and the Open Studio program, which allows access for the general public to experience Toride-based artists’ practice (in its first year, the exhibition was held together with the Open Studio program). In addition to these two projects, we have held a Kids’ Program, Mural Painting Project (2003) as an environmental project, and design competitions for gas tanks (2005 and 2010), as an urban development initiative to incorporate art into the local environment. We have also conducted a human resource development program, the TAP Juku, from 2004 to 2006, and an out-reach program in schools, to raise the local level of art education and awareness, and foster new talent. An artist exchange program with neighboring Asian countries was started in 2008, expanding to include research activity in 2009.
In 2010, the 12th anniversary of TAP, two further projects were launched , Art in Danchi, and Han-nō Han-gei (literally half-agriculture – half-art), aimed at creating alternative forms and functions of art through long-term activities, moving beyond the bounds of our past activities. Our activities are shifting from fixed period festival-type events to rolling projects, and we attempt to build on the human resources, know-how, and access to local assets, which TAP has accumulated through past projects. Currently the Kids’ Program, a Art Support Program, the International Exchange Program, and Environment Program are ongoing, with the aim of raising the cultural profile of the area, both in terms of infrastructure and creative practice.
The foundation for sustainable management of TAP was established by the incorporation of Toride Art Project Office as a Specified Nonprofit Organization (NPO),, on November 26, 2010. In line with its status as an NPO, its objectives were set out as:
Toride Art Project Executive Committee
(Toride City, Tokyo University of the Arts, Art Toride, Toride School Board, Toride Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Toride Cultural Administration, Junior Chamber International Jōsō, Toride Fine Artists’ Exhibition, and Toride Art Project Office)
Conference for creation of Gateway to the Arts in Ibaraki Prefecture Southern Area
(Ibaraki Prefecture, Toride City, Moriya City, Toride Art Project Executive Committee, and Arcus Project Executive Committee)
Higashi-Nihon Gas Corporation, Yasui Architects & Engineers, Inc., Shinroku Honten Co. Ltd., and Toride Rotary Club
Kanto Railway Co. Ltd., Urban Renaissance Agency, Nihon Sōgō Jū Seikatsu Co. Ltd. Residents’ association of Toride-Ino danchi, Ino Artists’ Village, and Toride Art Concierge
Fukutake Foundation for the Promotion of Regional Culture, and EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee
In 2011, there were six TAP programs. These included Art in Danchi, and Han-nō Han-gei both of which had been launched the previous year and will be on-going as core projects over several years. The Kids’ Program,International Exchange Program and Environmental Program continued, and a new project was established; the Art Support Program which supports artists and artistic organizations in and around Toride.
Our two core programs aim to create and develop new values and life-styles to make living in the suburbs more attractive.
Our project aims and content, however, were reviewed, in response to the March 11 earthquake and nuclear emergency in Fukushima. Throughout the year, individual participants were concerned how best to move forward. The outcome from the last year’s activities will be brought to those of 2012.
This project, directed by artist Iwama Satoshi aimed at finding a way to live in our future through thinking and acting communally on the radiation-contaminated ground. Using rented farmland named “Gohyaku-tsubo, literally 1,650m2 area” as the site for the project, the ground was first measured for radioactive contamination. Then we conducted decontamination work on a portion of the ground by ourselves. On another site Kamoroom, seminars were held to study fields other than art, with workshops on food which is directly connected to life. At the end of the fiscal year, a forum was held bringing together participants of different generations and points of view in the public art gallery Kirari near Toride station. This project will be on-going as a platform for social innovation, inviting participants from different occupations, of all ages and backgrounds.
Tappino was opened in 2009 and another space Icoiino + Tappino in December 2011 to promote interaction with art in daily life. The Tappino site was closed in 2011 and its role passed to the next space. The building itself was made into the artwork Camera Tappino! by artist Satō Tokihiro to commemorate its closing. Satō is also the Deputy Production Manager of TAP. The new space Icoiino + Tappino is jointly run by the complex’s residents’ association and local volunteers, aiming to be a space for different generations to get together. It also functions as an oyasumidokoro, a community cafe , managed by the Division of Welfare for the Elderly, Toride City.
In another program, the Partner Artist program, artists Fukazawa Takashi, Tokuhisa William, Miyata Atsushi + Sasa Moe, and Kitazawa Jun used the Icoiino + Tappino site in Toride-Ino Danchi, for individual projects and conducting research.
TAP is also redesigning the Ino Danchi in both a physical and social sense, proposing alternative uses for the former Tappino site (a joint program with the OpenA) to the Urban Renaissance Agency (UR), and also launching the Danchi Innovators Project. The team for promoting this project is composed of members such as architects, gardeners, artists, and media-artists, in addition to local residents.
From the beginning of TAP we have annually held the First Graders’ Art Works to exhibit art by Toride’s first graders. Each year has a different theme and all works are exhibited in the same event regardless of their level of quality. This program has two objectives: firstly, it is to let the children, who are just on the brink of entering society, feel that their art work can reach others. Secondly, it is to generate non-verbal forms of communication within the local community, which accepts and appreciates the children’s work.
In 2011 the theme was ‘Such seeds, I’d love to grow.’ 804 children painted seeds, from which a variety of ideas sprouted. In the exhibition site, ‘Gallery Tours with Artists’ were conducted, in which visitors were able to talk with the artists while looking at children’s work. Alongside this was the regular program ‘Write a letter to a Friend’s Work’ in which visitors were encouraged to correspond with the children, and all first graders could receive a letter from visitors.
Also in 2011 a new program was started; a talk event entitled ‘Fun things make you smile: what is play for children? what is art?’. In this event, we discussed the relationship between children and art, with Mr. Harashima Hiroshi, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo, Trustee of the Japanese Society of Child Science as a guest speaker.
In response to the increase in the number of Toride-based artists and people who support these artists and their practice, the City is incorporating art into its measures and policies aiming to have art take root and further develop in Toride. In a new venture, the Art Support program, the local City’s ‘2011 Art Partnership Program, Toride’ operated along with our own program ‘Toride Art Relay’ supported the work of eighteen artists and groups based in and around Toride in terms of finance and public relations. A wide variety of artistic activities took place throughout the area, including presentations by artists of their work, workshops, participatory art events, and making plans of freebies for individual shops. This initiative to develop the art infrastructure will continue in coming years.
The artist selected in the 2008 Open Call, Satō Miku spent July to September at the Seoksu Art Project in Anyang city, Korea, with which TAP has had an agreement since 2008. During her residency Satō ran workshops and an open studio, as well as pursuing her own art practice, In the JENESYS Program, in partnership with the Japan Foundation, Laura Preston, a young curator from New Zealand, stayed in the Toride-Ino Danchi for a month. Preston interacted with residents at the Icoiino + Tappino site, the location of our core program ‘Art in Danchi’, giving a presentation on her activity and purpose in visiting Japan. Preston also participated in the ‘Han-nō Han-gei” forum as a round-table participant. We could share our concept and practice of the community-based art project with a young creator from abroad , who has her own view on TAP.
‘Gas Tank – Camera Obscura’ and ‘Spherical Gas Holder– Design Competition’
Taking advantage of a regular open-inspection period conducted every ten years a spherical gas tank was transformed into an art work by converting it into a huge camera obscura. This project was initially planned by Satō Tokihiro and was realized with the major cooperation of the Higashi-Nihon Gas Corporation. A special lens was fixed to the top of the gas tank, allowing light inside. Through this lens, the townscape was reflected onto a sheet covering the floor of the tank. As the reflection was dependent on good weather, some visitors unfortunately were not able to see a clear image. However, just the experience of entering the massive metal space of the gas tank was certainly impressive in and of itself.
In addition, the outer surface of the tank was painted with a design by artist Kijima Maki, winner of the ‘Spherical Gas Holder– Design Competition’ held the previous year. The gas tank is now a celebrated artistic icon in Toride.
TAP Office: TAKASU HOUSE, 2156 Takasu, Toride City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, 300-1522
Phone: +81-297-84-1874 (on only 13:00 – 17:00, Tuesday and Friday)