3331 Arts Chiyoda (Part 1) – Connecting a neighborhood and the world with art

Japan’s declining birthrate is well known. Even in Tokyo, some schools are closing. One of these schools has been renovated and transformed into a stylish art space for the local community, companies and visitors. That’s “3331 Arts Chiyoda”!

An old school reborn as a community space

3331 Arts Chiyoda faces a small, very green and lush park. When you enter the building through its entrance, you can find an open and bright space. The entrance area, that was originally the staff room, is now a free space that anyone can use. Office employees enjoy their lunch boxes while a group of old ladies chat and laugh at another table.

3331 Arts Chiyoda

Upon taking a closer look, you will discover many school items that have been redesigned or repurposed to fit a new purpose. Large blackboards, desks and chairs, shoe racks as brochure holders, and washbasins on each floor … If you have never been to a Japanese school, you can at least get a glimpse of the vibe of a typical school building in Japan.

An old school blackboard

From the basement to the rooftop – it’s about art!

3331 Arts Chiyoda is an art facility. Inside the building, you find art galleries, cafes, shops, offices and rental spaces – a mixture that naturally stimulates interaction which leads to many new ideas and collaborations.

Use the school’s old stairway or the elevator to get to the different floors

3331 Arts Chiyoda also serves as a hub for foreign artists working in the nearby artist-in-residence in Iwamotocho.

Planters where locals grow their organic veggies on the rooftop (This area is not open to the public)
An old shoe locker with pamphlets promoting art events all over Japan

Many galleries can be visited for free. They show works of famous artists and creators, as well as graduation exhibitions of art college students. Since the content of the exhibition varies depending on the time of year, the facility is always worth a visit. You will have new “art encounters” every time you visit.

Hiroshi Fuji “Toysaurus” (right)

In addition to the changing exhibits, some of the artworks are shown all year round. Near the entrance to the “Family Rest Space” on the first floor, a big dinosaur and cute chandelier-like objects made out of old children’s toys greet visitors. These artworks, as well as the sign design and the wall paintings, are collaborations with Japanese designers and artists.

An artwork by Akio Suzuki “Otodate” to seek echo points in the environment by standing on the concrete block.

Events and special exhibitions

3331 Arts Chiyoda curates special exhibitions of popular artists several times a year.

When I visited the facility, there was an exhibition of Junya Kataoka and Rie Iwatake. (Until June 16, 2019)

With the power of art, 3331 Arts Chiyoda interacts with locals, by connecting neighboring schools, companies, and artists from inside and outside Japan with each other. 3331 Arts Chiyoda is an exciting project and a must-see!
Next time, we will introduce the shops and cafe of 3331 Arts Chiyoda. Stay tuned!

The two artists who collaborated on an exhibition in Paris are inspired by each other’s work. By introducing parts of the other’s work into their own art pieces, they keep on creating more art.

3331 Arts Chiyoda

6-11-14 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nearest stations: Suehirocho Station, Yushima Station, Ueno-Okachimachi Station, Okachimachi Station, Akihabara Station
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/ZAFVRHTQeYzWgrx7A