“I’m still a housewife so its amazing that an amateur can do something like this,” says DanDans founder and organizer Kazuko Aso, now presenting the contemporary art cooperative’s fifth exhibition titled “A Midsummer Dream” until Aug. 30 at Chinzan-so in Mejiro, Tokyo. “Maybe it’s because I have such enthusiasm for the artists and financially I didn’t want to gain anything for myself. Maybe this is why it’s been successful.”

A longtime art enthusiast, Aso started DanDans with its first exhibition in 2005 after learning about the severe lack of support in Japan for young, emerging artists. A nonprofit, all-volunteer venture, DanDans has helped launch and escalate the careers of about 170 artists. Some, like sculptor Ikki Miyake, who participated in the group’s third exhibition in 2007 at the Chanel flagship store in Ginza, have watched their careers take off. He recently had a work auctioned at Christies for ¥5,000,000.

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