Situated in the Zempukuji area, Youkobo considers it important that its activities are visible to the surrounding community, while at the same time trying to increase awareness of the role artists play within society. The open air art exhibition Trolls in the Park, held at the local metropolitan Zenpukuji Park, began in 2000 with the idea of artists using public space as a platform to present their work. Steadily gaining the understanding and cooperation of the local community, the exhibition has become a place where contemporary art can be appreciated in an everyday setting.
In addition, Youkobo was formerly the venue of Hiro Bijutsu no Kai, an art class familiar to the local area which was open to all regardless of age and gender. With the introduction of the five-day school week for public elementary and junior high schools in 2001, Youkobo also established Art Kids, a Saturday art workshop for children that takes place at Momoi No. 4 Elementary School next door to Youkobo. Welcoming elementary school children of different age levels, and led by a range of artists, the workshop has also made strong roots in a community school where art is flourishing.
These activities are also connected with the Youkobo studio and gallery, and the activities of the artists joining the AIR program.
An artist-led workshop for children which takes place every month at Momoi No. 4 Elementary School, located adjacent to Youkobo Art Space. With the common aim of encouraging creativity and challenging participants to find their own forms of expression, workshops involving various themes and genres are organized by various artists, including those joining the Youkobo artist-in-residence program. Initiated in 2001 by Ryozo Takashima, Art Kids has been run by Jaime Humphreys since 2010.
Within the larger theme "expression through drawing, the relationship between body and space, and an awareness of the individual and group", I aim to encourage the participants to explore their own imagination through various drawing and sculpture-related activities. Many of the workshops I have led to date have taken drawing as their central focus. This is because I consider drawing to be a primary form of visual expression whose immediacy makes it particularly suited to elementary school children. Gaining awareness of their own physical movements through various drawing activities, and given a space in which to find their own expression, I hope that these workshops nurture the participants' imagination and interest in art making. (Jaime Humphreys)
Trolls in the Park
Taking place in Zenpukuji Park which is just a short walk from Youkobo, Trolls in the Park is an international open air art exhibition held annually in autumn. Established in 2002, the supervision of Trolls passed hands from Youkobo to artists and other members of the local community as it reached its 10th anniversary in 2011, continuing today through the boundless enthusiasm of the local community. Artists joining the Youkobo residence program continue to actively participate in the vent.
Youkobo is located in Zenpukuji, an area occupying the western end of Suginami Ward which is one of 23 wards in Tokyo. As with the neighboring Musashino City in Nerima Ward, it is situated in a large residential area, and good access to the city center has made it a popular destination for the artists and researchers who travel from around the world to join the Youkobo residency. In order to facilitate the orientation of its residents, Youkobo designed the Youkobo Area Map to accompany existing maps created by neighboring municipalities. Covering a 4km radius and with Youkobo located at the center, it serves to make the surrounding area more accessible to the Youkobo artist community.