One Stay, One Art
PARADISE AIR is an artist-in-residence program located in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, conveniently close to yet comfortably removed from the bustle of central Tokyo. The program is held on the vacant floors of a former hotel, a setting afforded to us by the Rakuen pachinko parlor (a pinball-gambling establishment) that occupies the bottom floors of this building owned by Hamatomo Corporation. We launched the program in 2013, naming ourselves PARADISE AIR after this “Rakuen” – “paradise” in English – combined with “AIR,” the acronym for “artist-in-residence.”
Artist-in-residence programs provide artists a place to stay and create art for a given period, supporting their travel and artistic activities. Situated along the old Mito Road, Matsudo thrived during the Edo Period (1603–1868) as one of the route’s “post towns”– stop-off points punctuating major roads – where travelers would stay on their journey between Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Mito. Countless travelers came and went past where Matsudo station stands today, including artists – poets, painters, calligraphers and the like – who would sometimes leave pieces of their own art as payment for lodging. Some of these works can still be found today, preserved in local residents’ homes. In the spirit of this Matsudo tradition, PARADISE AIR operates under the concept of “One Stay, One Art,” and is accumulating its own history as a cultural and artistic transit point where visitors, both from Japan and overseas, can stop off along their artistic journeys.
At present, our activities revolve around three programs: the SHORTSTAY Program, open not just to artists but to curators and researchers too; the LONGSTAY Program, which hosts artists chosen from among applicants for three months, offering all-round support that covers travel, accommodation, language, and of course artistic production; and finally the LEARN Program, which connects artists with the city, encouraging different kinds of learning and interaction. Our goal is to update and add new layers to Matsudo’s culture by letting our artists stretch their wings across the whole city, working in concert with the local residents.