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Ministry of Culture opens 'art bank' in Taichung to help promote local artists

TAIPEI -- The Ministry of Culture yesterday opened the headquarters of an “art bank” project that seeks to help Taiwanese artists gain more exposure.

The headquarters, located in the central Taiwan city of Taichung, will exhibit artworks purchased by the ministry from local artists and assist government agencies, companies and institutions in renting and displaying these works, according to the ministry.

The ministry launched the first phase of the “art bank” project last year, when it purchased 346 works, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, installation art and mixed media, and put them up for loan to increase their circulation and help local artists gain more visibility.

The “art bank” hopes to expose Taiwanese children to the work of local artists, instead of just replicas by Picasso or Monet, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said at the opening.

The project, with an annual budget of NT$70 million (US$2.33 million), will also introduce Taiwanese artists to foreign audiences, as some of the works will be shown in overseas government offices and corporate headquarters, the ministry said.

The works can be leased for between three months and one year for a fee equal to 0.4 percent of the price the ministry paid for the artwork.

Since the launch of the project, works of art have already been exhibited at such venues as Taiwan's major international airports and the Presidential Office and Executive Yuan buildings.

The ministry said 80 percent of its collection is currently leased out.

The collection can be viewed at the project's official website: http://artbank.ntmofa.gov.tw/EN

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