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Art & Design

Hope for Tohoku - A look at 3 years of ARTS for HOPE

2014.02.25 Naoko Hirasawa

Art camp held at the National Hanayama Youth Outdoor Learning Center.
Photograph provided by ARTS for HOPE

On February 27, ARTS for HOPE organized an exhibition and briefing session on its activities at the 3331 Arts Chiyoda, an art center built in an renovated school located in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. This organization, which we've introduced in one of our news articles in the past, began organizing art projects immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake at temporary housing, day-care centers, kindergartens, etc. By organizing over 300 projects, ARTS for HOPE has helped bring smiles and hope to many people.

Soon after the earthquake, they organized projects for people of the region such as the Happy Doll Project, which encouraged people to engage with one another while creating cute dolls, and the Happy Painting Project, which helped children open up emotionally and physically by having them draw and paint on a large canvas big enough to cover the entire floor. Initially their activities had focused on projects that had a great healing power that could be held anywhere. But as the Tohoku region began to recover, they started to organize bigger, more participative projects like an overnight Art Camp with children from, for example, Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima prefectures and Art Renovation projects at children's centers, parks, and indoor parks.


Art Renovation Project at Minamisoma. Photograph provided by ARTS for HOPE

In the beginning, the project was more like a caravan run by the representative, Ms. Masako Takahashi, and a few staff, but in the last 3 years, they have gained more supporters including large, renowned companies. Now there are branches in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, and 550 volunteers help organize activities day to day.

It has been 3 years since the catastrophic disaster. So far over 14,000 people have taken part in these projects, and the staff have traveled nearly 1.4 times around the Earth. Having said that, recovery is still underway in afflicted regions, and people's hurts have yet to heal. Helping recovery is an endless endeavor. The staff at ARTS for HOPE will continue to deliver smiles and hope to people in afflicted areas.

*If you didn't get to go to the exhibit and briefing session, you can take a look at the report (pdf) from here, or please watch the video.

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Art & Design, Peace

The area of this news

Tokyo,Japan (Japan

Naoko Hirasawa

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