July, 2017

Art is essential to society, providing people with time to reflect on and make new discoveries in their daily lives. We respect diversity of expression and thought at the core of art and culture, and we are aiming to demonstrate the important role it plays in society. Through our activities, we also seek to connect the regional and the international, traditional culture and contemporary art--aspects of society that appear to be diverging--by creating a place where diversity and exchange can be accepted naturally. While supporting the creative expression of artists who are dedicated to their practice, we hope to contribute, as a member of a local community, to the formation of an open society through a range of art activities. We are working to promote regional communities and international exchange to the world through art and cultural activities from the city of Tokyo, Japan. We hope to have your support and cooperation in our future quest.

Having begun its AIR activities in 1989, Youkobo is now approaching its 30-year anniversary. For a five-year period straddling the year 2020, Youkobo aims to invite artists who have thus far joined its AIR program to conduct a second residency, observing developments in their practice and changes in social background in order to consider and open a discussion about the contributions that art makes to society.

Youkobo Art Space
Hiroko and Tatsuhiko Murata

Outline of the Youkobo Art Space's Activities

The building in which Youkobo Art Space is carrying out its non-profit activities in the Suginami area of Tokyo was, until the 1970s, a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. Serving first as a creative studio and space for art education with the title 'Studio Youkobo', Youkobo first started its trial as a metropolitan Artist-in-Residence (AIR) in 1989 when it hosted overseas artists and architects who were supported by the Matsumae Foundation. In 2001, the facility housing two art studios, a gallery space, two long-term residency spaces, and a community lounge and office was reformed and re-opened as 'Youkobo Art Space,' a place providing opportunities for young motivated domestic and overseas artists to create and exhibit new work, and for dialogue and exchange through art.

While working positively to develop art activities based in the local community, Youkobo also promotes cross-cultural understanding and a broad range of international exchange. Making serious efforts to develop as an art space, Youkobo became a member of Res Artis, a worldwide network of art residencies based in Holland, and began to proactively organize exchange activities with a wide spectrum of overseas artists and AIR centers.

Since 2012, Youkobo has aimed to bring greater visibility to countless AIR around the world that share similar characteristics--artist-led, flexible art spaces with independent policies. Coining the term "microresidence" to refer to such AIR, Youkobo is developing an independent network to achieve this objective. The organizational structure of Youkobo consists of two co-directors, a team of supporters (five advisors, one full-time staff, two part-time staff, and one intern), and an accounting auditor. It is this small-scale organization that is earnestly developing its activities.

Brief history of Youkobo

1984 Established studio space for creators in Zempukuji, Tokyo, in addition to Hiro Art Club (art class) and Hiro Micro Library (local children's library centered on illustrated books) in the annex building.
1989 Established Studio Youkobo with the support of the Matsumae Foundation, offering artists and architects shared studio space in a structure that formed the foundations of the Youkobo residency program.
1990 Initiated homestay program at Youkobo, hosting participants in an international technical student internship supported by IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience, UNESCO).
1996 Established temporary annex studio for residency artists at Fujino-machi, Kanagawa Pref. with support from the Japan Foundation.
1997 Established temporary annex residency in Kichijoji, Tokyo.
2000 Collaborated with the Japan Turkey Sculpture Association (Tokyo/Istanbul) to organize Wind from Anatolia, an international art exchange exhibition between Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey.
2001 Reopened as Youkobo Art Space, launching a fully-fledged artist-in-residence program with annex gallery space.
Became a member of Res Artis (a Worldwide Network of Artist Residencies, head office in Amsterdam)
2002 Initiated Trolls in the Park, an annual open air art exhibition held in Zempukuji Park, Tokyo.
Initiated Art Kids, a regular children's art workshop held on Saturdays at Momoshi Elementary School.
Established Nish-Ogi Machi MEDIA, a non-profit organization with office located at Youkobo.
2003 Organized Interaction, an international art exhibition in Kyoto, Tokyo and Yokohama, as part of the official program for 2003: Year of Turkey in Japan in collaboration with the Japan Turkey Sculpture Association.
Participated in the Art NPO Forum in Japan, Kobe.
2004 Participated the Res Artis General Meeting held in Sydney and Melbourne.
Organized Children's Conference, an exhibition by Macedonian artist Iskra Deimitrova exhibition in Yokohama.
2005 Participated in the Intra Asia Network, Taiwan.
Participated in People, Exchange and Dialogue, a meeting between directors of AIR in the Netherlands and Japan, held in Amsterdam and Maastricht.
Participated in the Res Artis General Meeting in Berlin.  
2006 Participated the Intra Asia Network in Gwangju and Seoul, Korea.
Organized Interchange, a contemporary art exhibition between Tokyo, Japan and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
2007 Participated in the SHOWCASE program at ZAIM, Yokohama.
2008 Participated in the Res Artis General Meeting in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Participated in J-AIR Network Forum, British Council, Tokyo.
2009 Participated in TransCultural Exchange 2009 in Boston, USA.
Participated in J-AIR Network Forum held at Instituto Cervantes, Tokyo.
Participated in Rain Meets Sun, a Lithuania-Japan exchange exhibition (Kaunas, Lithuania and Tokyo, Japan).
Participated in HIAW 2009 (HweiLan International Artists Workshop), Taiwan.
2010 Hosted Turkish artist as winner of the Res Artis Award.
Participated in the JENESYS Program (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) organized by the Japan Foundation.
Participated in the GTS Program (a joint program between Geidai, Taito Ward, and Sumida Ward)
Participated in the General Meeting of Res Artis, Montreale, Canada
J-AIR Network Forum, embassies of Norway and Finland, Tokyo
2011 Initiated Microresidence and Micro-Macro Collaboration Program as Y-AIR, a special AIR program supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Organized series of events to mark 10th Anniversary of Youkobo Art Space.
Programs suspended or cancelled following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11.
Conducted a survey into microresidencies, leading to the launch of the Microresidence Network.
2012 Gave presentation about the potential of the Microresidence Network at the Res Artis Strategy Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.
Committee member of the Res Artis General Meeting held in Tokyo. Gave series of presentations about microresidencies at the same meeting.
Actively organized AIR opportunities for Japanese Artists in the UK, Portugal and Taiwan.
Established a share-studio program at Shinko Pier, Yokohama.
2013 Organized a mural project in Yorii Town, Saitama Pref. in collaboration with artists from Germany.
Initiated PJ6581, an exchange program between Singapore and Japan as part of the Microresidence Network. Created opportunities for young artists and art students to participate in ArtCamp, Pilsen, Czech Republic.
Initiated Youkobo Plus, which involved the organization of the exhibition Returning from the Mountain of India and Stuttgart, a piano renovation project.
Established an internship for students of Joshibi Univ. of Art & Design as a part of the Y-AIR program.
2014 Microresidence Forums initiated with microresidence program directors in Singapore and Korea, and in Tokyo, Yokohama, Onomichi and Kunisaki, Japan.
2015 Initiated London/Tokyo Y-AIR Exchange Program, a studio-based exchange program supported by TUA (Geidai), Tokyo and CSM, London.
Participated in the Saitama Triennale pre-event (HomeBase Project and Microresidence Network)
2016 Inisiated the second phase of the special AIR program, Microresidence and Micro-Macro Collaboration Program as Y-AIR, supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Participated in 10th anniversary program of Kultuli Kauppila Art Center, Ii, Finland.
Partcipated in 2016 TEC LandArt Festival, an artist residence project held in Taitung, Taiwan.
Organized Microresidence meetings in Yerivan, Armenia and Oulu, Finland.