- Earth Art Festa 2009 in Mashiko-

Who:Yamazaki, Okazaki, Nishigami, Inoue
Where:Mashiko Town, Tochigi Prefecture
When:May-November 2009
Note: Industry/Tourist Community Development Award (Silver Prize)

Art Festival in ‘the Town of Earth'

Mashiko is world famous for its production of ceramics, Mashiko-Yaki. But for the last decade, sales have fallen 50%. The town center shows many vacant stores and properties.  In autumn of 2009, Mashiko held a Festival called Hijisai, celebrating “Earth” which is the key concept for both its ceramics and local agriculture.  For 16 days, more than 20 events were held including an exhibition of ceramic artists, a DIY experience program by townspeople, live concerts, a seminar, morning market and country café.

Management of Volunteers' Festival and Post-Festival Development

studio-L managed Hijisai Project Team in which about 300 volunteers participated, and were members of Hijisai Operation Office.  This Office had three divisions: Overall Operation (Reception, Medical Team, Public Relations and Ground Setting); Event Division (Clay Doll Making, Earth Stage Making and Live Music), Townspeople Division (Morning Market and Sunset Bar)  Altogether there were 28 units.A questionnaire result shows that 96% of visitors expressed satisfaction with the Hijisai Festival, and the festival won “Industry/Tourist Community Development Award (Silver Prize)”.

After the Festival, volunteer team members gathered and formed an organization, Hijinowa, continuing activities such as exhibits, study groups and community cafe.