BankART 1929 is a Yokohama City project established in 2007 as an NPO designed to utilizing refurbished historical city buildings for the development of contemporary culture and the arts. Initially, a team of two publicly selected groups began operations in March of 2004 managing two historical buildings, the former Daiichi Bank building and the former Fuji Bank building. The BankART1929 name was chosen to express the fact that a bank building originally built in 1929 would be used for the arts. After a test period of operations, the project was official organized as an NPO in March of 2007 and new programs were launched.
Today, the organization has moved from the former Daiichi Bank and Fuji Bank buildings and uses a renovated old warehouse of the Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) that serves as its base of operations under the name BankART Studio NYK (approx. 3,000㎡). As satellite projects, BankART1929 has also run the BankART Sakura-so (concluded 2010) and the BankART Kamome-so with artist residence facilities; the Honcho Experimental Gallery (concluded 2010); BankART Tsumari (Niigata Pref.) and so forth. Also, in collaboration with the Yokohama Triennale 2011, BankART1929 planned and ran the “Shinminatomura” project that gathered a number of alternative art initiatives in the giant exhibition space Shinko Pier (4,400㎡). From April 2012, BankART1929 and the Shinko Pier Use Council will jointly run this as a base for creator activities called the Hammer Head Studio Minatoku (2-year project).
BankART1929’s actively pursues several hundred programs a year, including it main activities operating studio spaces, planning and organizing art courses running a shop and producing contents, as well as organizing exhibitions and providing coordinator services. The genre involved range from fine arts, architecture, theater and dance to music and more. And, these activities are not conducted only within the BankART facilities but also in public buildings, historical buildings, unused industrial facilities, eateries and stores, open lots and unoccupied stores. The organization also engages in building an international network for making use of artist residency facilities and a network of creative city programs and serves as a coordinator in roles such as securing creator bases (Kitanaka BRICK&WHITE, Motomachi Building Sigokai, Utoku Building Yonkai) for the “Sozokaiwai” program promoted by the city of Yokohama.
- Artists in Residence
- There are 8 studios available in YNK for this program, varying between 20 and 80㎡ in size, for a 2 month period. In addition to an overseas exchange programs, collaborative initiatives with regional universities also take place.
- BankART school
- Based on a system of 8 bimonthly courses, classes are held daily from Monday to Saturday. The courses are taught by leading artists and professionals in each field. There is also an “Outreach BankART school” program that takes classes to the 18 districts of Yokohama in cooperation the local governments and regional NPOs.
- BankART Shop & Contents
- The Shop stocks art-books including and exhibition catalogues. Moreover, some 40 publications of exhibitions, etc., have been published to date.
- BankART Pub & Café
- This facility serves as a meeting place for all BankART’s activities.
- Entrepreneurial Activities
- A new working network is being planned and implemented to bring out the full potential of Yokohama’s many cultural resources (architectural legacy, cuisine, fashion, photography, scenic arts (notably Kazuo Ohno’s butoh) etc.). Projects include the “Kazuo Ohno Festival,” a “Cuisine and Contemporary Art” project and a “Landmark Project” that reuses spaces in connection with community development projects. Also, a number of comprehensive events are planned and implemented in collaboration with the Yokohama Triennale.
- Coordinating Office
- This office is not merely a leasing agent for the spaces in the facilities BankART operates. It also invests in proposed projects, co-produces and collaborates on planning and budget estimates.