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Old Taipei town Treasure Hill transformed into a lively art village

By Cho Yin-cheng
Staff Reporter

Performers dressed in costumes kick off the opening ceremony of Treasure Hill Artist Village on Oct. 2 in Taipei.Taipei’s old Treasure Hill community, now reformed as a living art village where art can be found everywhere in daily life, officially opened Oct. 2 after a four-year long renovation and rebuilding project. The residents are now inviting citizens of Taipei and Taiwan to discover treasures that are concealed in history.

“One of my priorities is to revitalize historic buildings and reinforce housing security,” promised Taipei Mayor Hau Long-bin in an opening ceremony held in nearby Shuiyuan Market.

Performers in costumes, striking gongs and marching in stilts, moved up to Treasure Hill Art Village (THAV), which is located in bustling Gongguan district. Occupying an area less than 4 hectares, it tops out at a height at 80 meters.

Taking its name from the Buddhist temple of the same name in the community which was built 300 years ago, Treasure Hill still did not constitute a real community until soldiers retreated with the Kuomintang government to Taiwan in 1949 and built their homes along the hillside.

Operating under the ideal of creating a new village that will provide space for both living and art, most of THAV’s operations will be based in the three major projects -  ‘Hometown preservation and revitalization’, ‘Artist-in-Residence program’, and ‘Youth Hostel’.

So far, 22 out of 100 or so former households have joined the program. The remaining empty houses will be used to build hostels, bookstores and studios. A total of 17 studios, 2 rehearsal studios and 3 exhibition spaces are available in the artist-in-residency.

Old Treasure Hill community reformed as a lively art village. (photo courtesy of Department of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City)THAV, with its unique location, stands out among the three art villages currently active in Taipei, namely, THAV, Taipei Artist Village and Grass Mountain Artist Village, notes Su Yao-hua, director of the Taipei Culture Foundation, which has assumed responsibility for this old community since early 2010.

Outsiders visiting THAV will probably pay attention to the creative processes used by most artists, rather than appreciating the finished products, adds Su. The first five artists selected to base their creativity here for a continued three to six months have said they will seek to represent and bind with locals in developing their works.