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In 2017 the Obayashi Foundation launched a new grant program, “Visions of the City—Obayashi Foundation Research Program.” Based on the recommendations of our five-member selection committee, every two years this program awards a research grant to an artist from Japan or abroad endowed with an abundance of creative ideas and a strong interest in cities. The selected artist is provided with an opportunity to examine and investigate various problems facing Japanese urban areas from a completely different perspective from that of conventional urban planning, and to make proposals for “a city that the artist would like to live in; an innovative or ideal urban modality.” The first artist selected was Makoto Aida, who staged the “Ground No Plan ” exhibit. Mr. Aida made use of various media including drawings, architectural renderings, scale models, paintings, installations, film, and texts to depict the future “City-” and “Land-” scape that he envisioned.  (

We are delighted to announce that second recipient of the “Visions of the City” grant is artist Theaster Gates. Starting in 2006, Gates renovated two buildings in his hometown of Chicago, creating cultural spaces to convene and host programs for diverse audiences. Both located on the South Side, a neighborhood these buildings have now become community spaces where people gather. Dorchester Projects—named after the block on which the buildings are located—continues to address social issues and stage a range of programs such as exhibitions and other activities as it expands into new hubs and contributes to local industries. Taking advantage of this grant, Gates plans to make a research visit to Japan during the Summer.