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Mayor Visits Art Facilities in Tokyo

On January 24, Mayor Ko Wen-je led a city delegation on a visit to “Makers’ Base”—a workshop facility dedicated to craftsmanship in Tokyo. This is part of the mayor’s one-week trip to Japan to draw on experience concerning city administration.
The mayor reckoned that the operation mode of Makers’ Base can serve as reference for Taipei when it seeks to provide more space for designers and artists. Coordination is needed between the departments of cultural affairs, economic development, and education. These agencies are working on similar plans involving Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Nangang Bottle Cap Factory, Y17, and several schools.
According to Ko, equipment utilization and workshop training fees are the two main sources of income for Makers’ Base. If Taipei is to adopt the approach, the city government should only play the role of funding the establishment of such facilities; it would prefer leaving long-term maintenance to the private sector.
Replying to media questions about the feasibility of imitating the success of Makers’ Base which turned losses into profits within two years, Ko stressed that the workshop format is more suited for limited production or for the development of prototype products; the enterprise is not suited for mass production.
On the same day, the delegation also made a stop at “3331 Arts Chiyoda”—a high school campus turned arts center. The facility now functions as a gallery and exhibition venue, embodying the concept of community-based art creation. Ko observed that Taipei has much to learn from how Japan maximizes the use of abandoned school buildings.