Japan’s NPO Law for designating specialized not-for-profit organizations went into effect in December of 1998 and by 2008 a total of 35,669 organizations had received NPO status. Of these, Category 4 NPOs (active in the areas of academics, culture the arts and sports) surpassed 10,000 in number by 2007. (It is also noteworthy that in June 2011 review of the NPO law was conducted with the aim of revising the certification system to improve the reliability and tax advantages of NPOs to make them even more effective as a “new public sector.”) With the start of full-fledged NPO activities in the arts field, Art NPO Link was founded as a networking organization for art NPOs.
Sachio Ichimura of Arts Network Japan
, one of the pioneering art NPOs in the country, administrative director Taneo Kato of the Asahi Beer Arts Foundation with its prominent program of corporate philanthropy in the arts and culture, and representative Sadayuki Higuchi of the Arts Staff Network, which performs volunteer art event coordinating, contacted representatives of art NPOs from around Japan to form an executive committee and the “1st Nationwide Arts NPO Forum in Kobe” was held in October 2003. Some 235 people attended the first meeting in Kobe, including representatives from 47 arts NPOs and 40 private organizations, to discuss the importance of the arts are essential in the task of solving today’s social problems and issue a statement promising to get out this message of the power of art to the society at large. The meeting concluded with an agreement to continue the meetings on a regular basis, to work to fulfill the goals of the statement and to establish Arts NPO Link as a loosely knit network of arts NPOs.
Organizing the Nationwide Arts NPO Forum (once a year)
This is a forum organized jointly by Arts NPO Link and an executive committee made of representatives of arts NPOs and related organizations around Japan. It is a gathering to discuss and debate issues of different types of NPOs with varied programs in the common field of the arts and make appeals for the arts in the society at large. Thus far the meetings have been held in Kobe, Sapporo, Maebashi, Aomori, Beppu, Awajishima, Okinawa, Maizuru, Tottori and Osaka.
Publishing Arts NPO Databank
Research is done on the activities of art NPOs nationwide and the resulting information published in booklet form.
Managing Arts NPO Aid
Arts NPO Aid http://anpoap.org/
was established as a platform to support the activities of artists and art NPOs seeking to contribute to the recovery of areas stricken by the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11 2011 and to help artists of those areas re-establish their artistic activities. The organization’s activities include collecting donations, supplying information through its website about the activities of artists and art NPOs working for the recovery, and providing coordinating services.
Managing the Asahi Art Square (since 2009)
Arts NPO Link has been commissioned to manage the Asahi Art Square as a base for Asahi Brewing Company’s corporate philanthropy activities. Among its main programs are the “Grow up!! Artist Project” that gives already accomplished artists the opportunity to re-think their art from new perspectives, the “Open Square Project” that opens up the Asahi Art Square facility to artists in hopes bringing together their creativity and the stimulating spaces of the facilities to discover new possibilities, and the “Partnership Project” that solicits project plans from art NPOs or artist groups for joint project productions.
Advising for the Toyota Children Meet Artists program
The Toyota Children Meet Artists program was launched in 2004 by Toyota Motor Corp. in cooperation with NPOs with the aim of providing the children who lead tomorrow’s world the opportunity to meet and interact with artists in ways that will stimulate their sensitivities and imagination. Arts NPO Link serves as advisor and handles administrative functions.