Taiwan’s first ‘Art Bank’ opens in Taichung

Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture inaugurates the Art Bank Programme in a bid to promote local artists and the art market.

The nationwide project, the first phase of which was launched in 2013, aims to help young Taiwanese artists gain more exposure through renting out and exhibiting their artworks. The Headquarters of the Art Bank was inaugurated on 13 April 2014 in Taichung.

Taiwan Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai, who has unveiled a new policy to support up and coming artists in Taiwan.

Taiwanese Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai, who has unveiled a new policy to support up-and-coming artists in Taiwan.

Promoting Taiwanese art

The concept of the Art Bank involves the purchase of artworks from Taiwanese artists, which will then be exhibited at the Art Bank headquarters in Taichung as well as rented out to other institutions, companies and government agencies. Some of the works will also be displayed overseas, thus promoting Taiwanese art to an international audience. According to the press release, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said at the opening ceremony that:

a core concept of the initiative is to allow more Taiwanese children to experience first-handedly [sic] the works of local artists, instead of being educated on replicas of Picasso or Monet paintings.

The goals of the Art Bank Programme are threefold:

  • Financing local young and emerging artists by purchasing art pieces with potential;
  • Collaborating with the private sector to promote Taiwan’s art to foreign audiences;
  • Promote cultural diplomacy through renting art to governmental agencies and Taiwan’s embassies globally.
Exhibition view, 2012 National Art Exhibition, ROC at National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. Image by Art Radar.

Exhibition view, 2012 National Art Exhibition, ROC at National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. Image by Art Radar.

Art on lease

The project, budgeted at USD2.33 million annually, will allow interested organisations to rent artworks for up to one year. In its first phase, launched in 2013, the Ministry of Culture purchased 346 works by 195 artists, comprising various media including photography, painting, sculpture and installation.

The Art Bank runs an open call for submissions on its website, the first of which received over 3000 submissions. The final artworks were selected by a panel, organised by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, based on artistic merit as well as practical factors such as preservation and the ability for the work to be easily transported. Many of the selected works are by award-winning artists and the entire selection was unveiled in September 2013.

Speaking on the occasion, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai was quoted as saying that the programme would “promote the entire visual arts industry by encouraging private and public institutes and the general public to collect art” and also develop related industries such as art galleries, insurance, restoration, and shipping and transportation.

At present, eighty percent of the Art Bank’s collection is leased out. The works have so far been displayed at several prime locations including Taiwan’s international airports, the Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan buildings. The entire collection is available to view on the Art Bank Taiwan website.

Supporting emerging artists in Taiwan

Following a structural overhaul in 2012, Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture has undertaken a number of projects and initiatives in the recent past to support artists in the country. The Art Bank Programme has been one of its flagship policies since the new Ministry’s inauguration.

Despite restricted resources, in May 2013, the Ministry announced a subsidy programme and financial grants of USD442,000 annually. There were also plans to set up an international cultural exchange platform and art villages across Taiwan.

Kriti Bajaj


Related Topics: acquisitions, Taiwanese artists, promoting art, events in Taichung

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