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Art bank program looking to purchase artistic works

The Ministry of Culture has begun publicly soliciting artworks by Taiwanese artists for its newly launched art bank program. The submitted works will be evaluated in two stages, after which the selected works will be bought as part of the art bank collection.

The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts is responsible for implementing the program. Its budget for the first year totals NT$70 million (US$2.35 million), with half of the amount being spent on purchasing artworks and the other half on renovating storage space, website building and administration expenses.

Government agencies and private enterprises are welcome to rent the artistic works collected by the art bank. The initial rental is set at 0.4 percent of the purchasing price. For example, to rent an artwork worth NT$100,000 would cost some NT$690-960 per month. “The cost is affordable for most people,” said Minister Lung Ying-tai.

Each item can be rented out for three months to one year, and the Ministry does not encourage long-term lease of any artistic work in the hope that all its collected pieces will be widely circulated and seen in different public spaces.

The art bank is expected to purchase about 200 artworks in its first year, said Lung. Public spaces in government buildings will be the initial priority target for promoting the program, and the collection will be stored in a former Taichung City government building. Part of the artworks will be displayed in the lobby of the building and the collection will also be exhibited virtually on the art bank’s website for government agencies and private companies to see and choose the appropriate artworks for them to rent. Professional exhibition planners will also be available to make recommendations on displaying the rented artworks in different public spaces.

As for the artworks to be collected by the art bank and their purchasing prices, the Culture Minister said a selection committee comprised of art professionals will be fully responsible for making the decision.

“In principle, we would like to purchase works by local artists with great potential but not yet famous, and there is no limit on the age of the artists,” Lung noted.

The deadline for submissions is May 15. 

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