The Ministry of Culture announced on Monday a list of 40 individuals or groups who, under its new policy, will receive financial support to showcase their creativity for the very first time.
Among them are psychiatrist Lin Tzu-yao (林子堯), who will publish his first comic book on doctor's lives, and 74-year-old former fast food shop owner Chen Chao-ming (陳朝銘), who will hold his first exhibition of pottery dogs in August.
Under the new policy known as “The Opening Stage,” selected artists can receive funds to launch their first publication, exhibition, performance, screening or other public exhibition of their works.
Individuals are eligible to apply for up to NT$300,000 (US$9,990) in subsidies, while companies, schools and other institutions and groups can apply for a maximum of NT$1 million.
Lin said he hopes that his sometimes satirical four-frame comic strips, which portray hospitals and doctors' lives, can show readers the secrets behind the men and women in the white coats.
A comic book fan since he was a child, Lin said being a psychiatrist gave him the opportunity to witness many "bizarre, bittersweet, joyous and sorrowful" events in the hospital wards.
Also among the subsidy receivers are composer Huang Chun-ta (黃俊達), who will launch his first album that combines choir music with lyrics inspired by renowned Taiwanese writers, and dancer and artistic director Lin Li-chuan (林立川), who will kick off his first performance showcasing his choreography.
Lin's dances combine ballet, modern dance and cross-disciplinary artwork.
Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said “The Opening Stage” accepts applicants of all ages because young people are not the only ones who are creative and able to inspire.
"Taiwan does not lack talent. It only lacks platforms," explained Stan Shih (施振榮), founder of Acer Inc. and chairman of the National Culture and Arts Foundation, which is responsible for the policy’s execution.
A total of NT$13 million in subsidies will be handed out under “The Opening Stage” program each year. The Ministry will consider subsidizing projects ranging from literature, visual arts and music to dance, animation and film.
For the first half of 2013, 40 individuals and groups were selected from over 200 applicants. The application period for 2014 will start on Oct. 1, 2013.