The challenge of ST Spot Yokohama, which started from a small theater!
The scene where the play is born
File 9 ST Spot Yokohama
Koichi Imai (editor/writer)
Did you know that there is a small theater called "ST Spot" in the basement of a building in the business district at the west exit of Yokohama Station? More than 30 years since opening. Led by the world-famous playwright and director Toshiki Okada (chelfitsch), the school has produced many artists.
The theater is operated by NPO ST Spot Yokohama. With the mission of "utilizing the power of art in modern society", we are carrying out a wide range of activities in collaboration with Kanagawa Prefecture and Yokohama City. This time, I will try to spotlight the activities that are not well known.
The ST Spot is operated by the ST Spot Steering Committee, a voluntary organization formed in 1987 by citizen volunteers. In 2004, when it was incorporated as an NPO as "ST Spot Yokohama", it has expanded its range of activities.
“It was widely known within the artist community that we had nurtured a variety of artists, but it was largely unknown to the local community. Therefore, as an organization that not only manages theaters but also tries out arts in the community, we have set a mission to 'utilize the power of art in modern society' (Chief Director Tomoki Ogawa).
Amidst the scarcity of operating funds, we focused on a collaborative project between Kanagawa Prefecture and an NPO called the Kanagawa Volunteer Activity Promotion Fund 21. We proposed a project to build new educational activities using art, and carried out a “delivery class” in which artists of various genres were dispatched to schools. He says he learned to work with people from a wide range of genres during the five years.
Since then, this project has continued to this day as the “Yokohama City Arts and Culture Education Platform” in collaboration with Yokohama City.
“There were about 20 schools involved in the collaborative project with Kanagawa Prefecture, so we contacted all the schools, listened to their requests, and matched artists. However, it is not easy for us to expand our activities on our own, so we asked for the cooperation of local halls, specialty museums (Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall, Yokohama Museum of Art), art NPOs, etc. Currently, 38 groups, including us, are involved in this project. I act as a coordinator, and out of about 500 elementary schools, junior high schools, and special needs schools in Yokohama, this fiscal year, we are developing the project at 146 schools.” (Secretary General Mami Tanaka)
“It is important to not start out with a business like this, thinking, ‘Is it theater or music?’ Anything is possible. It might be good, and maybe we can do something with music.By proposing various things, I try to lower the hurdles to art.” (Mr. Ogawa)
The results of this project will lead to the "Regional Cultural Support Project: Yokohama Art Site" and the "Project to Build the Foundation for Artistic and Cultural Activities in the Welfare Field."
＊Yokohama Art Site 2019 Kickoff Meeting
The "Local Culture Support Project/Yokohama Art Site", which started in 2014, is a project that supports community building through art, art festivals, and the creation of works unique to Yokohama in various ways throughout the city of Yokohama. . The content of the support is wide-ranging, including screening for granting subsidies, interviews for system improvement, and publication of public relations magazines.
The issue here is the definition of art.
"What is art? This is a very difficult definition. There are edgy arts, festivals are also a kind of art, and activities to create a community through art with foreign children may be art. A clear answer. Since there is no such activity, it is impossible to make judgments without looking closely at local activities, and it is impossible to discover new or hidden things.” (Mr. Ogawa)
It seems that they are repeating trial and error, such as holding discussions on the theme of "What is Yokohama's local culture?"
Since it was decided that the Tokyo Paralympics will be held in 2020, there has been an upsurge in initiatives related to people with disabilities and art.
ST Spot Yokohama has teamed up with Kanagawa Prefecture to carry out the "Fundamental Development Project for Artistic and Cultural Activities in the Welfare Field," which includes joint workshops for people with disabilities and artists, survey research, study sessions, and inspections for the creation of works. doing. Since I was not familiar with doing art activities at welfare facilities, I started by holding study sessions where people on the ground could talk to each other. It seems that we are also conducting survey research to follow up on a wide prefecture area.
“The welfare facilities are also working very hard, but there is a limit to what can be done within the facility alone, and the atmosphere becomes stagnant. In the future, I would like other halls and cultural facilities to become hubs for such activities." (Mr. Tanaka)
* Implementing facility: Liaison Kasama, a support facility for people with disabilities / Artists: Douy (modeling unit), Junpei Katsumi (PARADISE ALLEY BREAD&CO)
I think that ST Spot Yokohama has made a great contribution to the activities that open up and permeate art in the city by repeating trial and error in these activities.
Finally, Mr. Ogawa talked about what he cherishes.
“A theater is a theater, and even now it is still active freely. Even if we maintain a balance with the public nature, as a creative and presentation site, we are careful not to pull out the fangs of the artist. ”