Art Space Yosuga (Art space 寄す処) is an artists' residency, gallery and cafe/bar located 15 minutes walk from JR Kyoto Station, and even less from Gojo subway station. Together with its neighbours Kanra Hotel and the Cooking Sun School, it is the heart of a quiet yet chic hub for contemporary art and culture. The derived meaning of 'Yosuga' is 'connection' and establishes the founding philosophy for the art space. Art Space Yosuga is a platform for communication - linking art, cultures, and the international community.
It's very appropriate that this article is written now - just as Art Space Yosuga celebrates its first year of operation. Since opening in September 2013, the space's representative, Tadayoshi Numasawa has been working hard to generate an environment promoting connections through communication and art. Located in a twin set of renovated traditional Japanese houses, Art Space Yosuga incorporates a shared living and working space along with a cafe/bar gallery. The art gallery is unique in that it doubles as a bar, departing from the 'white cube' gallery concept. Numasawa-san's objective is that people can drink, chat, eat, and enjoy art freely together.
Art Space Yosuga operates both an 'Artist-in-Residence' and 'Short Stay' program. In the Artist-in-Residence program, an artist or creative person may apply (with portfolio and proposal) to stay and work from Yosuga for a period between one and six months. During this time, they may utilize the studio space available. The studio space is open to the public to promote maximum engagement and community dialog. On completion of the artist's stay the gallery hosts an exhibition of their works from the residency period.
When one thinks of the term 'Artist-in-Residence', one may conjure up stale imagery of the artist working in isolation abroad - their role that of an observer. Yet at Art Space Yosuga, the artist is encouraged to take on the role of participant, and thoroughly engage in the local community. Along with developing a project in response to Kyoto's cultural richness, artists also have the option to participate in additional activities, such as Japanese language classes, field trips, and workshops.
In its first year, Art Space Yosuga was host to New York artist, Donald Cameron, who completed a residency of four months. Since then, a variety of other artists and creative persons have come to Yosuga from around the world, from countries such as America, Australia, and the Netherlands. Whilst residency programs are reserved for artists, visitors are always welcome to connect with the art and artists through workshops and the cafe/bar. If anything, it's well worth the visit for Numasawa-san's great sake recommendations.
If you're looking to connect with people and cultures during your time in Kyoto, Art Space Yosuga is a must. Promoting the establishment of connections between cultures through art, Art Space Yosuga is a place that always welcomes visitors from across the globe with kindness and a smile.
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Saskia is an obsessive compulsive traveler with Japan as her #1 preferred destination. Her appreciation for Japan's unique culture was cultivated through several years of studying the language during high school and also an otaku phase about which she prefers to no longer speak.