Mecenat Activities


Public Interest Incorporated Foundation
Support Program for Interactive Art Appreciation Education Targeting Elementary and Junior High School Children Who Represent the Future

Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Museum of Art, which opened its door in 1976, is located at the 42nd floor of the Sompo Japan Headquarters Building, Shinjuku,Tokyo. The museum is known for its permanent exhibit of the collection including van Gogh’s Sunflowers, impressionist masterpieces by Cézanne or Gauguin, in addition to the works by Seiji Togo.
In collaboration with the Shinjuku ward office, the Museum has conducted a program named “Interactive Art Appreciation Education Support” for fostering the future generations, which provides elementary and junior high school students in Shinjuku ward that has no public art museum with an opportunity of enjoying works of art.
An interactive art appreciation education program, which started at MoMA in the mid-1980s, places emphasis on having viewers become conscious of what they watch and feel facing the works of art by talking with a museum guide. This program is different from a traditional gallery talk in which curators give the visitors information mainly about the artists and works of art.
The program starts with a volunteer guide’s going to a local school and giving the children a lecture before their visit to the Museum on its official closing day. Once in the Museum, those students who have never been to any art museum look around the exhibit and verbalize what they feel and discover from the works of art in conversation with the guide.
The museum has about 60 guides composed of citizen volunteers recruited with the help of the ward news or the internet as well as the company’s employees. After a certain training period, those volunteers start working to enter into a dialogue with children in the hope of “sharing with them the pleasure of watching great works of art.”
Prior to this program, the number of the elementary and junior high schools in Shinjuku ward that implemented the art appreciation education accounted for only 20% of the total number of schools in the ward, but currently all of the 29 elementary schools and 7 out of the 10 junior high schools in Shinjuku have introduced the art appreciation into curriculum. The museum responds as much as possible to the requests from schools outside Shinjuku ward and hopes that similar programs would spread nationwide.

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