Nishiaizu International Art Village occupies a wooden former school building.
My interest was piqued when I heard about a run-of-the-mill rural community in Fukushima Prefecture that is attracting people through art. The town of Nishiaizu is located in the westernmost part of Fukushima Prefecture, near the border with Niigata Prefecture. Situated in a mountainous plain occupied by rice paddies and fields, the mainly agricultural town covers an area about half the size of Tokyo’s 23 central wards and consists of 89 hamlets with a total population of 6,300 people. It is a typical example of a depopulated area. In 2004 the Nishiaizu International Art Village opened here in a vacant old wooden building that used to be a junior high school. Since its establishment, the village has engaged in international exchange through art by inviting foreign artists, and it also holds an annual exhibition open to entries from across the nation. I visited the town during the 13th NIAV Exhibition 2018.