Once a nexus of culture and industry, but ravaged by depopulation since the 1970s, Naoshima island has become Japan’s most successful example of sustained regional revitalization. The opening of Benesse House Museum in 1992 brought together contemporary art and architecture to breathe new life into the area.
In 2010, hundreds of artists and thousands of volunteers gathered for a 100 day art festival, attracting art enthusiasts from around the world. The festival represents a massive expansion of Naoshima’s art haven to nine neighboring islands and ports.
Two years before the start, the festival’s executive committee called on AQ to raise awareness of the event in Japan and abroad, while faithfully representing its founding aesthetic values.
We quickly involved artists, art lovers and past Naoshima visitors, with news of the festival and a call to share personal experiences of the Inland Sea, via a bilingual website and official presence on popular online social networks like Twitter.
This early effort paid off: 721 artists responded, from Japan and all over the world, to the call for artwork proposals. And by opening day, over ten thousand art fans had gathered on Twitter, Flickr or Facebook to ask questions, share past experiences and tell one another “I’m going to Setouchi!”.
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