Magic shows, diablo performances, clay artwork displays and other street performances packed Wuchang Street in Ximending yesterday to celebrate the 2008 Taipei Street Artists Carnival.
The annual activity is held to promote street art to the public and gather street artists whose performances are scattered around the city, allowing people to view the performances in one place.
Addressing the carnival yesterday, Chen Kuan-fu (陳冠甫), chief secretary of Taipei City’s Cultural Affairs Department, said the Taipei City Government began pushing for street arts in 2003. A total of 677 street artists received certificates after the department implemented the Taipei City Street Artists Performance Permit in 2005, Chen said.
The permit system was inspired by the cities of Cambridge, San Francisco and Tokyo, where governments have set up special districts for street artists, allowing street artists to perform at more than 100 public spaces across Taipei designated by the department, he said.
“We are hoping that street art and culture can be found more easily in Taipei residents’ lives, and people can appreciate such art forms,” Chen said.
Attracting a huge crowd with his magic shows at one corner, Fang Kuan-chi (方坤祺), also known as “Magic George,” said he started performing on the streets four years ago as an amateur, and the opportunity to be face to face with his audience was the best reward.
Thanks to the city government’s efforts, more and more people in Taipei City have the opportunity to appreciate street arts, Fang said, adding that many other local governments, such as Taipei County, Ilan County and Taichung County, also began pushing for the permit system to offer formal recognition to street artists.
The carnival will continue this afternoon from 2pm to 5pm on Wuchang Street, and will also be held next Saturday and Sunday in the same area.
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