Details of 2017 International Artists-in-Residence Program in Aso

Applications for Artist in Aso 2017 are closed.


1. Background to implement this program

Aso is located in Kumamoto Prefecture, in the center of Kyushu, Japan. It is about 2 hours’ flight from Tokyo. 50,000 people live within one of the world's largest calderas, where there are 5 Aso mountains, including the active volcano called “Nakadake”.


Ancient cultural records of Aso Shrine date back to 282 B.C. This premier tourist area has cultural significance and unique animals and plants which draw over 1.7 million visitors annually.

In 2013, Aso was evaluated for the unique farming mode of its largest grasslands in Japan and the scenic beauty of the grasslands and farming areas and FAO (Food and Agricultural of the United Nations) designated Aso as GIAHS, (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage). Also, Aso was designated as a Global Geopark in 2014.

Therefore, it has become important to promote positive perceptions of the beauty of Aso to the wider world.

2. Purpose of this program

The purpose of this program is to offer a creative environment for overseas artists in Aso district.  Artists will create artworks featuring Aso and are expected to promote appeals and information of Aso worldwide through their artworks.

Also, it is expected that local people/communities will feel many benefits from connecting with new inspirations and perceptions inspired by your artistic creations.

3. Commitment and Consideration

Successful applicants will stay in Aso district for about 40 days. Based on the theme of Aso, artists will create and express their own artworks. Through the creation, the exhibition and publicity of their artworks, artists are required to actively promote information about Aso district with their artworks not only during the duration of their stay but also after they leave.

In addition, during their stay in Aso, artists are expected to positively connect with, stimulate and vitalize the culture of people who live in the district. The artists are requested to strive to achieve this. This program does not include curators.

The staff who will assist artists in their staying areas are not art professionals.

The staff will mainly support artists’ daily life but cannot be expected to help in the creation of artworks. There may be occasions when atelier and materials for artworks may not be enough for creating professional artworks.

Basically, artworks should be completed by the artist alone.

In addition, there are some no-entry areas and impassable roads because of the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes, so please follow the instructions from the organizers.

4. Participating organizers

“Artists in Aso” Executive Committee (hereafter, referred to as Executive Committee)

Affiliated organization: Kumamoto Prefecture, Aso-City, Oguni-machi, Ubuyama-mura, Takamori-machi.

5. Qualifying applicants:

 Applicants need to fulfil the following:

General Conditions

  1. Artists, who have experience either in performing their artworks or through exhibitions and who are able to send recommendations from more than 2 experts in the art field. Applicants need to be over 18 years old and no high school students will be accepted. University /college students will need approval from their universities/colleges.
  2. During their stay, artists will complete at least one artwork, which is a result of the program’s creative activities for exhibition.
  3. Artists need to publically promote their work under the theme of Aso after they leave and send the committee a report on these promotions by March, 31, 2018.
  4. Artists need to be able to stay in the designated residences.
  5. Artists need to be in good health.
  6. Artists need to be able to participate in events scheduled by the Executive Committee.
  7. Understanding the purpose of this project, artists need to keep good relationships with other artists and local people and constructively participate in cultural exchange projects.
  8. Artists should take care not to intentionally damage facilities, such as, their designated residence and atelier.
  9. Artists need to be able to use either basic communication levels of English.
  10. Artists can only stay alone. (We can only provide a space for a single person).
  11.  Japanese citizens will not be accepted.
  12. Artists who will be driving during this residence program must bring an international driving license.

Inherent Conditions

  1.  Aso-City
    Photographs and Images.  The theme will be view of nature, livelihood and living scenes in Aso City.
  2. Oguni-machi
    Any art medium is acceptable.
    Oguni-machi seeks an artist to create interactive or tactile artwork which explores the value of Oguni cedar.
  3. Ubuyama-mura
    Any art medium is acceptable.
    Artwork will be exhibited in the Ubuyama district for a while and later, it will remain in the village.
  4. akamori-machi
    Contemporary art(environmental art, installation etc.)artist.
    Concept “Live together on the planet earth”

6.Participants for this residence program.

5 people

Detailed Breakdown

(1) Aso-City 2 people
(2) Oguni-machi, Ubuyama-mura, Takamori-machi 1 person each

7. Choices of residences

 Please write where you prefer to stay on the application by carefully reading inherent conditions of those 5 places listed above and the conditions of 10. residences and ateliers listed below.

Artists will stay in one place in preferred locations.

 In principle, artists will not be located in unwished place.

Please note that the conditions of the residences may vary according to each district.

8. Residential term

September 18 (Monday)-October 27 (Friday), 2017 (40days)

*Artists must arrive at their residences by September 18(Monday) and must stay until October 27 (Friday)
* Residences and expenses will be provided only for this period.

9. Activity contents

1. Artists are requested to stay in the designated residences as mentioned above 【8】in Aso. Artworks should be developed in the designated ateliers and areas.

2. Artists are requested to participate in the following programs conducted by the organizers. The schedule might be changed depending on circumstances.

  1.  Exhibition. (The committee will organize depending on the artworks)
  2. Workshops for local elementary, junior high and high schools.
  3. Open atelier (when appropriate, during this residence program).
  4. Courtesy visit to the Governor of Kumamoto Prefecture.
  5. Visit from organizer’s record keeper.
  6. Media coverage (by appointment)
  7. Events to promote this project conducted in outside of Aso district. 

3. Preparation for activity record Artists will prepare activity record of staying and submit to the committee by the end of the residence period.

4. Promotional campaign for artworks Within the year following the residency, artists are requested to do promotional activity outside of Japan as follows.

  1. Please give an exhibition or give a live performance, lecture or workshop (or related activity) about your artwork (if it is movable) in Aso.
  2. Please publicize your artist’s stay and artwork in articles through media such as newspaper, magazine or website 

Please inform to Executive Committee after you have done PR activities as listed above by March 31, 2018. 

10. Contents of residential stay

1. Transportation costs

Costs for a round-trip from the artist’s nearest airport to Aso-Kumamoto
Airport (in principle the international or domestic flights will be economy class).
Any transportation taken from Aso- Kumamoto Airport to the artist’s residence is included in the transportation cost support provided by the organizers,
Total transportation support is up to a maximum of JPY 200,000 per artist.

*A copy of airplane tickets and receipts will be necessary for repayment.
*About visa

If visa is necessary for immigration, the applicant will need to prepare this by him or herself. Please confirm with the overseas agencies of the
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your home country.

2. Residence and atelier

Municipal designated residences and ateliers are freely provided for creation of artworks (utility costs are covered by the program).
Refer to details of each residence as below.

*Please refer below to select where you wish to stay.

Number Place to stay Residence’s information Atelier’s information


Place to stay

Residence’s information

Atelier’s information


Aso City

Type: Independent housing
Equipment: Kitchen, Toilet, Refrigerator, Washing machine,
Internet For bath, please use the neighborhood hot spring bath.
※ This information is as conditions stand as of now.  Unavoidable changes may arise.
Location: the same as left.

2 Oguni-machi

Type: Second floor of independent housing
Size: 3 Japanese style rooms
( 12 tatamis ・10 tatamis ・8 tatamis)
Equipment:kitchen, bathroom, TV, toilet, refrigerator, washing machine.
Type: the same as left.
Size: the same as left.
Equipment: the same as left.
See left
(additional workplace may be provided depending on the contents of artwork)
3 Ubuyama-mura

Type: Local lodge 
Size: an independent housing (double-story)
Equipment: TV, bath, toilet, washing machine, kitchenette, etc.
internet connection

Type: A meeting room in a local government office
Size: About 30 ㎡
Equipment: Lounge, toilet etc.
internet connection



Type: One room of a private lodge
*there will be lodgers in other rooms
Size: 6 tatamis’ room :about 10 ㎡
Equipment:kitchen, toilet, public space will be shared with other lodgers for bath, hot spring baths
no internet connection
Type: An elementary
school site
(former classroom)
Size: 25 ㎡
Equipment:desk, partitions, water supply, gas, toilet, etc.
internet connection

3. Daily expenses

Each artist receives JPY 2,800 per day, to help cover the artist’s personal costs and food expenses.  This is calculated according to the number of days the artist is actually in residence.  Some, but not all residences will be provided with meals, however the artists have to pay an adequate amount to the providers.

Artists will be paid in cash at the end of the month. Artists are not required to report their accounts.

4. Costs for art activities (materials etc.)

Costs necessary for creation of artworks such as materials will be supplied.
However, PC, Cameras, tools which cost more than JPY 20,000 will not be applicable.  Total activities support is up to a maximum of JPY 250,000 per artist. Any cost above this will be covered by the artist.

Artists need to make their cost estimate in advance. Estimated material costs will be paid at the start of the program.  After the residency, the difference will be adjusted by receipts of actual costs.

※Please bring your own PC, cameras, or other electronic appliances.

Please do not expect financial compensation for activities/materials other than those designated above by the committee

5. Accident insurance

The organizers will join an accident insurance and health care plan that covers the participants. Should an artist fall sick or be injured, hospital visits are covered by the organizers. If however, insurance payment is received, it will be paid to the organizers.

*Health care for pre-existing disorders, chronic illness and dental care and others are not included in this plan.
*To join the insurance plan, successful applicants need to send a PDF file of a copy of passport and airplane tickets in advance.

If you choose to enter a danger zone, it is at your own risk and any injuries will not be covered financially by the committee.

11. Property rights, copyrights

1. Artist retains copyright of artwork created during the residential stay.

2. The ownership of any artwork created during the residential stay, in principle, belongs to the organizers. Organizers and anyone who have gained permission from the organizers can freely use the artworks (including records of their artworks like photos, videos etc.) upon their completion.

The preservation conditions of the artwork will be decided by individual consultation between each artist and the organizers (“Artists in Aso”Executive Committee). If the artwork is difficult or impossible to preserve, the conditions above will change.

3. Organizers have the copyright on photos and videos that they have recorded and the rights to use them to advertise.Organizers and anyone who has gained permission from the organizers can freely use their material.

12. How to apply

1. Applications

  1.  Application form: Fill in the application form on this site and write proposal letter (attach plans of proposed artwork, if possible, specifying materials and the number of people needed for production).
    ※Please do not forget to write where you want to stay on the application form.
    *Limiting the number of words as written on your application should be strictly followed.  Any excess cannot be screened.
  2. Resume: work experience including exhibitions, projects, scholarships,publications, etc. / records of artworks. For identification at selection, please attach a clear headshot photo.
  3. Photos of artworks: attach JPEG images of past artworks to designated places in the application form. (up to 4 images. Please be careful, if more are attached, any excess cannot be screened.) If the artwork is a video, please attach its URL.
  4. Please write the explanation of the artwork in the designated place on the application form.

2. Application period

June 26(Monday)-July 12(Wednesday), 2017(due)

3. How to apply

Applications for Artist in Aso 2017 are closed.

13. Selection and notice

 Selection will be made through the review of submitted documents by the selection committee.

The result of the selection will be notified by e-mail from early to middle of August 2017 on the “Artists in Aso” Executive Committee homepage.

We will not answer questions about our results until publication on our homepage.