Clare’s Diary Week 8 ④ / What Art Can Do for City(アートがまちのためにできること)



Junko, Arisa, myself and a few others had a trip to Yokohama to see how another city has incorporated culture and the arts within the community. Yokohama had built studios and spaces that artist in residency can occupy and make work from. Arisa and Junko were curious how this could become sustainable and profitable for the town. It certainly help Yokohama “cleanse” areas that were once not so nice to inhabit. (Me and Arisa had problems with the term “cleanse” and wondered where the people that were considered unclean had be displaced to.) Nagareyama does not have this problem, however, it seems that Nagareyama has a situation where people are looking at culture and arts for solution. There is a rising number of children that perhaps have little access to the arts which is integral for development of character, sensitivity and ability to observe and communicate. How the council are going to take this forward is to be seen. I feel they may need someone from an arts background to help guide them if they are to pursue this path.

Recently, we talked about team efforts. We have calculated that about 100 people have helped make this wall painting happen. Everyone has played their part in making this project work. From helping to prep the wall, organising sponsors, talking to townspeople and local businesses. Volunteers gloving up and painting, workshop attendees and makers, the people making sure we are fed at machimin. People from overseas have also come just to help paint. So many factors involved to make this happen. Without one element, the project would not run smoothly. Here in machimin and on the street, I am getting a lot of attention and praise for the work I am doing. It is very kind of people to show their appreciation (I am also sure there are many disapprovals – thankfully not many of these have reached my ears yet.)
It is very rewarding getting to paint. Not only do I get to partake in my favourite activity but I also get to do it in my favourite country where every day there is a new discovery and joy to have. Perhaps what people don’t realise is the effort Junko and Arisa have gone through to keep things as smooth as possible. Also the work of Emi making food each day. Locals have walked passed and scolded Junko for “making the artist (me) paint in the rain”. They don’t realise I am the mad one insisting upon this.
With every action there is a reaction, often when I paint I am oblivious to my surroundings, there may be a wake of chaos left behind my paint trail. I hope the wall brings joy to people and helps revive the area for children to enjoy as well as the commuters.