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If you have any questions on AIT, MAD, and/or Residency Program, please see below.



About AIT


What does AIT stand for?

Arts Initiative Tokyo

How old are you?

We began in 2001, so 2010 will be our tenth year.


Where are you based?

In an office/ classroom. Library, sometime bar in Daikanyama, Tokyo, one stop from Shibuya.


Are you a big organization?

Not really. Four staff work full time on running our programs.


What kind of organization are you?

An officially certified art non-profit organization in Tokyo. We could be called an ‘alternative’ space if you like in that we tend to do things which museums and commercial galleries cannot or will not do. We have worked with companies, foreign arts organizations, art schools, universities, museums, collectors and of course many artists over the years.

What is your main focus or direction as an organization?

MAD(Making Art Different), an independent contemporary art school with four courses. Every year over 150 people take our courses, which are run by AIT staff with guest tutors and speakers. We began the first curatorial practice course in Japan in 2001. We organize a small scale artist and curator in residence together with partner organizations. We host artist and curator talks regularly by Japanese and non Japanese. We sometimes run bar and lounge nights, events, performances and curate the odd exhibition in unusual spaces such as disused schools, clubs and a vegetable market. We are interested in creating somewhere where people can gather and think about art and its contexts today.

Is AIT funded by the City or the State?

No. We generate our own income through running MAD(Making Art Different), a school, managing residencies and through other small income streams. We apply for project funding to Foundations and City. There is no annual or stable funding from the public sector.

Do you speak English?

Yes. All of the staff speak English, and have studied abroad.

Can I visit you?

If you wish, please give us a ring or write us an e-mail beforehand, at the contacts listed. State your interest and reason, and we can advise from there. We are not a gallery, so if you happen to drop by, there is not much to ‘see’ except a small library and a classroom.

We however, do not allow viewing of our usual MAD courses. If you would like to know more in detail about the MAD courses, please come to one of our “MAD Open days”(*Japanese only) where AIT`s course directors explain about courses available with a Q&A session in the end. Open days normally take place few months in advance of each semester.

Do you accept interns?

Yes. You must be fluent in Japanese though. Interns are not permanently working with us, but rather come and go as projects dictate. We call for intern applications via the AIT mail magazine, so please subscribe if you are interested.

Do you deal in art works or represent artists like a gallery?

No. Although we have organized a fund-raising auction with works donated by resident artists. We have worked with commercial galleries in hosting talks and exhibitions, but remain on the curatorial side of things.

Is AIT famous?

Perhaps. We are one of the older arts non-profits in Japan. National newspapers have reported on our programs a number of times and we have also appeared on major news programs. Within the art world, most people have probably heard of AIT, although because we don't host regular exhibitions and openings, our initiatives tend to be a little more subtle and not as visible as some other things.

Can I join AIT.

We run a membership program, with various categories and benefits. As a non-profit we rely on the support of interested individuals. You can read about this in the Membership area of this website.

About MAD
What is MAD?
MAD stands for Making Art Different.
MAD is one of AIT’s core programs, initiated in 2001. It is a contemporary art school, with no formal affiliations to institutional educational establishments. Anyone can attend, and there is no entry requirements, only a keen interest to learn and discuss. All sessions are held in AIT Room in Daikanyama, Tokyo and start at 7pm until 9pm. The majority of people who take our courses are working people, average age between mid 20s to mid 30s. The courses are fee-based. MAD accounts for the majority of AIT’s annual income.?Core tutors and course directors are AIT’s founding members Keisuke Ozawa and Roger McDonald. We also invite guests to lecture, from curators, critics, artists, gallerists, museum directors and academics.



About Residency Program



How can I apply for your residency program?

Our residency is funded through partnerships with arts organisations and foundations in Japan and abroad.

Please note that we do not accept applications directly for residency.

Those interested can try applying to the relevant partners listed below, if one is eligible.



Fonds BKVB (The Netherlands)

FRAME (Finland)

IASPIS (Sweden)

Backers Foundation (Japan)

Ishibashi Foundation (Japan)

Mercedes-Benz Japan Co., Ltd.

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