Creativity Helping the Community

by Alana Bonzi
Young artists are easing the plight of the disadvantaged.

Robert Tobin and Hiroshi Ohashi, proprietors of the Asian Collection Art Gallery in Azabu Juban, have held two events to support Second Harvest Japan, an NGO for disadvantaged people. They plan to host a series of Art Evenings that also feature good food. On September 15th, the second Art Evening was held in collaboration with chef Mario Frittoli at Mario i Sentieri restaurant in Nishi Azabu. All 45 places quickly sold out after attendees learned that their love for art and good food could actually help those in need.

In the past few months, the number of people requiring Second Harvest’s services, such as food distribution in Ueno Park, has increased by 15%. The event is to raise awareness of Second Harvest’s work and provide continuous funding at this critical time. Tobin and Ohashi were brought up to “share and share alike.”

They believe that just as art and artists enrich life, they “have a responsibility to show the work of local artists to give back to the community, especially to those less fortunate.”

wifm_autumn09_low-72They plan another Art Evening in March

Combining art with sharing and giving something back to the community are also the core ideas of the Kids Earth Fund. Started in 1988, KEF Japan grew out of Harumi Tori’s desire to give her son a different education—one in which sharing talents and skills was important. When Tori started a preschool for her son, the focus on sharing naturally extended beyond the preschool to young children all over the world. Kids Earth Fund is about kids helping kids. Children’s artwork from around the world is used to help and inspire other children. Tori uses artwork to help put the smile back on the faces of children in post-conflict and disaster areas, and in other traumatic circumstances.

In September, KEF hosted a “Making a House a Home” fundraising party at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo hotel. With over 350 guests, 33 sponsors, and a number of eager volunteers, the Fund raised ¥1,409,516, which will be used by the 4th Kids Earth Home in Vietnam to repair a kitchen and toilets, paint roofs, build new bedrooms, and contribute to its library.

Tori says, “This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Kids Earth Fund and we are taking it as an opportunity to remember our original intentions to work for the good of children all over the world.”

Art moves in many ways. Sharing it like this helps take care of the community.

Asian Collection:
Kids helping kids: