Towada Art Center ― Bringing Life Back into the Local Community

Choi Jeonghwa Flower Horse

The Towada Art Center is one of Japan’s most striking contemporary art museums. Its permanent collection comprises works by world-renowned artists, including Yoko Ono, Choi Jeonghwa, and Ron Mueck, many of which were commissioned specially for the art center.

Architecture also plays a vital role at the Towada Art Center. Built as the central facility for the Arts Towada Project, an initiative created to revive a struggling local community faced with depopulation through the power of art, the building was designed to create a sense of continuity with the city itself.

Ana Laura Aláez Bridge of Light

Tsubaki Noboru  aTTA

Each exhibition rooms of the art center has been designed exclusively for the artwork it houses and is connected to the others by glass corridors. Visitors traverse these corridors as they explore the art center, enjoying each work one at a time. Many exhibition spaces also have wide glass openings that face in different directions, blurring the line between where the center ends and the city begins.

Some even describe the city as one massive museum of art and architecture. The Towada Art Center, designed by Ryue Nishizawa, is just one of many striking buildings designed by world-renowned architects such as Kengo Kuma and Tadao Ando.

Shiota Chiharu  Memory of Water

Nawa Kohei  PixCell-Deer#52  2018, mixed media, H2173 ×W1896 ×D1500 mm

Across from the art center is the Art Square, an outdoor plaza dotted with sculptures by artists like Yayoi Kusama and the location of farmer’s markets and many other events.

The art center also has a café and shop where even the floor is a vivid work of art, and just outside, a painting by Yoshitomo Nara adorns the 9-meter-high facade. After exploring the art center, visitors can relax at the café and sample a professionally curated menu of Aomori specialties.

“The art center has quite literally brought the city back to life,” says Ms. Sae Ohtani, media relations officer for the art center. “The streets around here used to be empty. But now they’re full of local residents taking walks and relaxing in the Art Square in addition to the many other visitors we welcome here at the Towada Art Center.”