There is a student community which uses a renovated old folk house for the art exhibition space in Kitasenju, Tokyo. While utilization of the old folk house becomes a fad, what feeling do the students related to this project have? What effect does this art space have as through the exhibition of art?
There were three to four members at the beginning and one of the renovation associations invited them to run a gallery. They sent messages through LINE to the art students in different schools and gathered 13 students in total.
We started preparing for the opening in April. We had to pay our running fee from individual budgets at the beginning, but now, there are enough fund from the people who want to exhibit arts in “kokonoka”. This old folk house has 75 years of history, and we try to take advantage of old house architecture for the art exhibition space.
Most of the galleries are very expensive in Tokyo and students have a hard time using them. We would like to rent a space with a reasonable price for the students so that they can exhibit art or hold some events. We also want to create a close connection with local people. Therefore, we introduced the local culture of Kitasenju after taking all the photos of public baths by ourselves.
Each member has different skill like leaderships, organization, design, repairmen of the space. We take advantage of these strong points each other. We gathered some money through crowd-funding and we used them for installing an air conditioner.
Since none of us have an experience as a member of society, we are learning by mistakes when it comes to the business operation. It was more than hard to live in the two worlds, school and “kokonoka”. However, we are very happy to take this opportunity for every single aspect. For example, when a problem happened, we have to think how to take in different opinions, how to respond to the clients so that the society will accept us, and how to take a responsibility as a business person. We are all learning something new every day through “kokonoka”.
Now all 13 of us are representatives of the group so that we can keep a flat relationship. We try to chat something rather than “kokonoka” in order to have a friendship mind as through knowing our private information.
This is a very friendly area and people are not like the typical tight Tokyo type. For example, we greet casually often with our neighborhood and there is a warm feeling. On the other hand, it is a waste to leave the vacancy in the old folk houses. We wish there are more people who want to use these houses like us.
There is a lot of art which is hard to understand in the colleges, and there are only a few people who work on a realistic painting. The people in public have a hard time understanding this field, and we also feel “As expected, they pass through our art”. Most of the audience do not pay attention to abstract art, and go to see graphic art which is much easier to understand.
We just want them to feel even a little of something, “This is kind of cool” or “This must be suitable for my room”.
It would be great if there are more people relatively interested in art. There are a lot of music TV programs which are very casual and close to our life, but there are not so many of art TV programs in Japan. There are plenty of artists who are doing something interesting.
People said, “I did not know there is an art exhibition space here at all”, “I will come to visit here again”, “I just dropped by after work”.
There are people live around here and also the audience who came all the way from other prefectures to see the certain theme of art or meet the artists.
We are searching the next generation staff for running this space for a long time. It would be best if we can establish a framework which involves sophomore students mainly in the project. Current stuff need to prepare for job search and graduation exhibition soon. We wish there were more students from the general colleges as well. We would also want to exhibit our own art collections here.
Even after running this space, we would love to keep in touch with each member. We will be able to contact any members based on the trust relationship built here when there is an issue in the future. We would like to learn from other member’s strong point and add an essence to our own skill. We are very happy to work together under the clear goal beyond the limited school circle.
Just come to drop by to see our space when you are around Kitasenju. We look forward to seeing everyone!