Public Art is a piece of art that is installed not in museums or galleries, but in public spaces such as streets, parks, squares, stations, and airport terminals. It is regarded as an element that constitutes public space, creating an artistic landscape and playing an indispensable role to bring people and art closer. Some experts point out the importance of being able to have access to art unconsciously.
The range of artists that are involved in public art is so wide that it includes sculptors, mural painters, painters, and illustrators. While sculptor and mural painter can produce their own art works, there is a case when an illustrator draw an original drawing, based on which a specialist studio finalizes the work as stained glass and ceramic relief murals to fit into the space the art work gets installed.
Western countries started to work on public art at an early years and it is said the very first installation in public space was made in Sweden in 1930s.
In addition, it is their characteristic that government provides support as seen in the policy to allocate certain percentage of the public construction cost for public art.
In Japan, private sector has been taking on the role after the war. In 2000, with us being the Secretariat, a special committee that are comprised of experts from art, academia, transportation as well as business world, such as Kunio Hirayama, a Japanese prominent painter, and Shoji Sumida, an advisor to JR East Japan Railway Company, put together “Recommendation for public art promotion”. The recommendation requested that the government proactively takes up the public art policy, and was submitted to Morita Transportation Minister.
It is an idea whereby one percent of the construction cost of public building is allocated towards art that is associated with the building. In early 1960s, this idea was successively legislated in the Western countries like France and the US. However, the percentage is not necessarily fixed at one percent; it could be 0.5 percent, so the program is also called “Percent of Art”. This is very important for the promotion of public art and nowadays it has been legislated in Korea and Taiwan, too.
It started in Sweden and in the US in 1930s. In the US, during the height of the Great Depression, about 1% of the total construction cost was allocated to art to provide jobs to artists, and since 1934, a policy to install art works at places like post offices around the country has been implemented. After the outbreak of WWII in 1943, the policy came to an end with a decline in the priority for art, but after the war, “1% for Arts” started as a cultural policy, not as a measure to save artists.
Yes. IGARASHI Takenobu (former president of Tama Art University), a sculptor, produced a bridge baluster in Los Angels in the US as well as ceramic relief murals in the entrance hall of government complex in Taiwan. Both works were judged and selected. Kengo Kuma, an architect, has also produced art in France.
It is an art award to foster young talented artists who study in the universities of art. It was set up in 1980 for Japanese students but it was extended to foreign students in 1991. Every year, we invite the students to enter art work contest, and the scholarship has been granted to the winners.
Winners should display their art works (not necessarily for the winners of foreign students due to the size of art works ). The day before the ceremony, the students are invited to visit “Studio of Creare Atami Yugawara” where Japanese artists work for public art as stained glass and ceramic relief.
Timed with Railway Day (October 14th) every year, we accept photographs and haiku from a wide of participants and those judged the best are exhibited at venues like Tokyo station. At this exhibition, works by “Sakuryokai”, a representative group of prominent artists in Japan, as well as exhibit on public art are also exhibited.
Yes, anyone is welcome to apply as long as photographs and haiku are your own originals and unpublished. Every single work is judged and those photographs judged the best are awarded with various awards such as the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Award. For haiku, awards such as the President of Japanese Traffic Culture Association Award are awarded.
In Japan, railway stations are major landmarks of each town. It is common for Japanese people to use stations as meeting spots. However, in many countries in the West, railway stations do not have such a function. It is something typical of Japan, where railways are well developed. Station is not just a place for people to pass by, but rather, we would like it to be a public space for people to gather, relax, and discover something new. Exhibitions at stations bring such a desire into a reality.