Arts Initiative Tokyo [AIT] has pursued activities that consider the contemporary world and society through art expression, working thus far with numerous Japanese and international artists and curators who have rich ideas and powerful imaginations, and acute critical thinking in-particular. In 2001, AIT began a contemporary art education program called MAD=Making Art Different in which, together with students, art that is directly connected to our lives is explored not only from the perspective of art history, but also sociology, religion, welfare, and other disciplines. AIT also curated Museum of Together (held in 2017 at Spiral Hall, organized by The Nippon Foundation), an exhibition involving contemporary artists and outsider artists that provided the opportunity to take an inclusive approach toward art appreciation and undertake an Art Access Program.
It is while working on such activities that the AIT staff encountered, through their own voluntary endeavors, children in children’s homes, isolated spaces in hospitals, and children with roots in other countries, leading to ideas that would become the seed of the dear Me project, which connects children, art, and welfare.
The project name, dear Me is based on the idea of caring for oneself (‘Me’), but also derives from the expression meaning ‘Oh!’ or ‘Wow!’, uttered at times of surprise or discovery. It is unknown what art can do for children or the adults around them. However, dear Me is moving forward, aiming to create an environment in which children can encounter diverse thinking and express themselves independently, and giving priority to children’s spirit of inquiry and the expansion of their imaginations.
We hope to discover what awaits us, together with children, artists, and you.
dear Me is a collaborative project initiated in 2016 by non-profit organization Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT) and The Nippon Foundation. It provides an open approach to learning through art and expression, and a platform where the unknown can be encountered with the goal of creating a society that encourages all children to have hopes and dreams. The project is directed towards children and young people in various living situations, including those in children’s homes, foster homes and those refusing to go to school, along with adult supporters. In addition to organizing workshops for art appreciation and workshops led by domestic and international artists, dear Me also holds lectures, symposiums and events where participants can learn together about the social issues and systems surrounding children, and gain ideas for the creation of a better society. Through various activities and dialogue focused on contemporary art in all its diverse forms, dear Me hopes to explore new possibilities for children, welfare and art.http://dearme.a-i-t.net
AIT is a non-profit organization established in 2001 (incorporated in 2002) with the aim of exploring contemporary art and its relation to culture and society. Working together with individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies, AIT conveys the complexity and diversity, as well as the surprises and joys, of contemporary art, and creates a platform for discussion about its background and culture through various programs.http://www.a-i-t.net
The dear Me logo was commissioned from KIGI, the company known for its gentle and playful designs as seen in D-BROS, PASS THE BATON, and 流Q (ruq). The ribbon motif carries the dual meaning of connecting and joining people together, as well as that of receiving a ‘gift.’ There are times when people can feel hardship or confinement in their immediate environment. But in looking at the situation in a positive way and expressing oneself freely, it is possible to transform even these circumstances into an advantage. Together with such convictions, the logo also expresses the wish that new discoveries can be made, and hidden abilities can blossom through activities organized by dear Me, leading those who participate to gain something = receive a “gift.”KIGI：http://www.ki-gi.com
The project name expresses the wish that children in various circumstances and those close to them will cherish their own thoughts and imaginations. It also carries the message that the ‘you’ within yourself and the ‘you’ in relationships with others will be discovered through various values and encounters made possible by art expression, and that, while treasuring such discoveries, “Me” will change and grow.