The Towada Art Center aims to provide new experiences through art as an institution committed to inspiring future creativity.
The Towada Art Center is committed to:
Towada City began the Arts Towada Project in 2008 to reinvigorate the local cityscape, whose main Kanchogai Avenue (lit. “street of government offices”) had become noticeably desolate due to population decline, government downsizing, and recent move-outs. In an effort to revive the street, Arts Towada introduces a variety of artworks into the environment as well as promotes programs and exchanges between artists, citizens, and visitors to the city.
The Towada Art Center is proud to announce that Arts Towada has recently been awarded the inaugural grand-prix prize from The Institute of Environmental Art and Design.
The Art Square is an outdoor space along Kanchogai Avenue that has been transformed into an open-air museum. A variety of artworks adorn the entirety of the avenue. The boldness of such a project is rare even when considered on a global scale. Towada strives to be a city of the arts, one that inspires creativity in visitors and residents alike. The city’s strong art scene, rich history, and natural beauty all work to intensify the local vitality of the area.
The Towada Art Center is the central facility for the Arts Towada Project, which was created to reinvigorate the local cityscape by introducing a variety of artworks into the environment as well as promoting projects and exchange with artists, citizens, and visitors to the city. The Towada Art Center houses a permanent collection of 41 commissioned artworks, all made exclusively for the Towada Art Center by 36 world-renowned artists from Japan and abroad, including Yoko Ono, Yayoi Kusama, Choi Jeong Hwa, and Ron Mueck.
Our facilities include permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, a collaborative space, and cafe, as well as other spaces for incorporating the community into art activities and exchange. In addition to art exhibitions, the Towada Art Center works within the community to support a variety of cultural programs.
The Towada Art Center is committed to sustainability at every level of its operations.
In March 2022, city officials reviewed “Phase 2 of the City of Towada Second Comprehensive Plan,” which specifies and emphasizes the need for initiatives based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sustainability initiatives are already underway in museums around the world. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) reconsidered and redefined the museum at its August 2022 Extraordinary General Assembly, adding that museums are institutions that foster sustainability. In addition, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM)—an affiliated organization of ICOM and a global network of modern and contemporary art museum experts)—has established a working group on sustainability and ecology. It has published a toolkit to help contemporary art museum professionals start implementing the necessary changes to become carbon neutral.
The Towada Art Center also serves as a tourist hub, with 70% of our visitors coming from outside Aomori Prefecture. Initiatives for sustainable travel and tourism are gaining momentum, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is setting global standards for the field. Towada City is home to Lake Towada and the surrounding Towada-Hachimantai National Park, Oirase Gorge, and the pristine wilderness of the Hakkoda Mountains. We will work together with other tourist centers and TOWADA TRAVEL, the city’s destination management/marketing organization (DMO), to promote sustainable tourism and initiatives that meet the GSTC standards as we aim to become a certified sustainable destination.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the four pillars encompassing the GSTC criteria cast a wide net, including cultural heritage preservation, education, and museum-supported community development.
Of particular relevance are the following:
The Towada Art Center contributes to these goals in our capacity to maintain and manage a permanent collection and support the Arts Towada Project. In addition, we will continue to promote environmental initiatives, particularly those espoused in the CIMAM toolkit.
These efforts specifically address:
To give a specific example, starting in 2021, we have started gradually converting to LED lighting to improve the energy efficiency of our facilities. Operationally, the center has focused on its permanent collection, a practice that consumes less energy than museums with a focus on temporary exhibitions. From 2020 onward, we have reduced the number of temporary exhibitions to two annually and lengthened their exhibition durations in order to reduce energy consumption related to transport and installation.
Going forward, we will monitor our progress to gain insights that can inform future planning and ensure our commitment to sustainability.
Nanjo and Associates Group
Director: WASHIDA Meruro
Chief Administrative Manager: TOYOKAWA Hiroki
Curator: MITOME Sayaka
Curator: NAKAGAWA Chieko
Curator: TOYAMA Aruma
Educator: AOYAMA Maki
Public Relations: OTANI Sae
Concierge: TSUCHII Takaaki
Some of the most striking features of the Towada Art Center are the independent exhibition rooms that act as “houses for art,” interspersed throughout the facility and connected to each other by glass corridors. Dividing the spaces has allowed for better customization of the space to each artwork, creating a sense of intimacy and harmony within each room. The idea of interspersion came from the design of Towada’s main arterial–Kanchogaidori Avenue–where buildings and open spaces intertwine. The city itself organically mingles with art.
The building is filled with juxtaposition of large and small, creating a sense of continuity with the dynamism of the street outside, which is also lined with buildings large and small. This unique design also allows for the placement of outdoor exhibition spaces and event spaces, making it possible for visitors to simultaneously experience indoor and outdoor art.
Many of the exhibition spaces have wide glass openings that face in different directions, creating a sense that the artworks are exhibited for the city outside as well.
Born in Tokyo.
Master’s Degree, Yokohama National University Graduate School.
Joins Kazuyo Sejima and Associates.
1995: Establishes SANAA with Kazuyo Sejima.
1997: Establishes Office of Ryue Nishizawa.
Associate Professor, Yokohama National University Graduate School (Y-GSA).
Visiting Professor, Princeton University Graduate School.
Visiting Professor, Harvard University Graduate School.
2004: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa (museum; Ishikawa prefecture); 2005: Moriyama Residence (apartment house; Tokyo); 2005 N MUSEUM (museum; Tonosho, Kagawa prefecture)
(Asterisk indicates collaboration with Kazuyo Sejima)
Architectural Institute of Japan Prize, 1998 and 2006 (As SANAA)
La Biennale di Venezia International Architecture Exhibition Golden Lion Award, 2005 (As SANAA)
Mainichi Art Prize, 2005 (As SANAA)
SD Review Kajima Award, 2001
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology The Young Scientists’ Prize, 2005
Rolf Schock Prize, 2005
This building, as an integral part of the concept of transforming the entire Kanchogaidori Avenue into an art museum, inevitably needs to be open and approachable. The activities happening within the building must continue seamlessly onto the street outside. To achieve that, we have divided the exhibition rooms into separate entities; their random interspersion throughout the facility allows for the intertwining of the indoor exhibition rooms and the outdoor art space.